Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 12-06-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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22 IN OUR SCHOOLS DECEMBER 6-12, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION toward the middle of the pack on results released last week. In total, 55.93 percent of Cumberland students are "meet- ing and exceeding expectations" in English language arts and 49.88 per- cent in math. In the dreary statewide results, only 27 percent of students met and exceeded expectations in math, while 34 percent of students were considered proficient in ELA. By comparison, 51 percent of students in Massachusetts met and exceeded expectations in ELA, and 48 percent did so in math. "Cumberland is one of the few districts that performed well in comparison to comparable dis- tricts in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts," said Cumberland Supt. Bob Mitchell. "I am pleased to report that the Cumberland School District outperformed a number of districts in Rhode Island that have historically outperformed us. In fact, the number of students meeting and/ or exceeding proficiency has led to Cumberland achieving a strong level of proficiency as compared to the other Rhode Island districts, result- ing in the strongest level of achievement Cumberland has experienced to-date." This year's adminis- tration of the RICAS was the first for the state, which most recently used the PARCC Assessment tool to evaluate students from 2014 to 2017. Students in grades 3-8 take the RICAS, while the PSAT and SAT are used at the high school level to meet federal testing requirements. Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said RICAS would give offi- cials an "apples-to-apples comparison of how we perform compared to Massachusetts, the gold standard for education in America and beyond." Unfortunately, the first round of results for Rhode Island's version of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Exam (MCAS) didn't add up to the state's neighbors just over the border. Students in Massachusetts scored 17 percentage points above Rhode Island students in English and 21 percentage points better in math. Half of Cumberland's student body met and exceeded expecta- tions in both ELA and math on this year's RICAS, despite the district having one of the highest enroll- ment numbers of the districts tested, along with Coventry, Cranston, East Providence, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket. In ELA, Cumberland students ranked fifth in the state when accounting for ties, recording an average scaled score of 502 (tied with East Greenwich and Little Compton). The highest was Kingston Hill Academy with an average ELA score of 511, while the statewide average was 487. Cumberland had among the high- est number of students exceeding expectations in ELA (8.16 per- cent), ranking eighth in the state. Cumberland is also ninth in the state for meeting and exceeding expecta- tions (55.93 percent). The town has one of the lowest percentages of students "not meeting expectations, at 6.5 percent, while 37.57 "partially" meet expectations and 47.77 meet expectations in ELA. In math, Cumberland students rank ninth in the state for overall score (499). When sorted by the percentage of students exceeding expectations, Cumberland placed 10th statewide (4.76 percent) – and seventh for its portion of students both meeting and exceeding expecta- tions (49.88 percent). Only 8.01 per- cent of Cumberland students tested did not meet expectations; 42.11 per- cent partially met expectations, and 45.12 percent fully met performance expectations for their grade level. Mitchell said the results are encouraging. "This was not an accident," he told The Breeze. "This validates the important work we've been doing over the last four years in teaching and learn- ing," he added, regarding some of Cumberland's "data-driven decisions related to curriculum and profession- al development that are paying off." Mitchell said implementing new classroom programs such as a writ- ing program with a professional development component has helped improve student performance. There's an increased focus on dif- ferentiated instruction, providing the instructional strategy that works best for the individual learner's needs. "We're making progress," Mitchell said. "It's not a competition, but we feel good about the fact that our stu- dents are performing better than dis- tricts that historically out-perform us. This path that we're on is working. We need to stay the course." Lincoln students also exceeded RICAS From Page One Continues on next page MITCHELL Let's all enjoy the Holidays Safely and Responsibly Teenage Drinking Snowballs in December Sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition Put a CHILL on Teen Drinking

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