Originally published in
Island Ad-Vantages, August 29, 2013
DIS Elementary school combats ‘F’ grade
In May, the Maine Department of Education released “School Report Cards,” awarding every school in the state an A-F grade.
The grading system was based on proficiency and growth, as defined by the MDOE and based heavily on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP).
The high school received a grade of C, and the elementary school received an F.
Elementary school principal Mike Benjamin said there has already been a lot of work on analyzing NECAP results and those test items released to the school. Each year, a few test questions are released, along with how students responded to them. This allows staff to look for patterns on questions, said Benjamin.
“What we’ve found is that the vocabulary used on the test and the format of the questions are potential problems for students,” said Benjamin.
This analysis has led to some instruction changes and additions to the preparation work teachers do with students before the next exam.
It has become clear that writing instruction needs to be more in-depth, said Benjamin. This instruction needs to span more genres, from persuasive writing to fiction.
Benjamin said students, especially middle school students who were upset about the F grade, seem to better understand the importance of the NECAP test and how the test reflects on the community.
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