Dozens of Mt. Hope High School seniors at risk for not graduating under new Rhode Island Department of Education guidelines are crossing their fingers as they wait for the results of their recent NECAP test, due to be released on Monday, Jan. 27.
Nearly 80 students scored a 1, or less than partial proficiency, in the NECAP tests they took as juniors. Now seniors, those students are being given extra help by the school administration in an effort to boost that score and give them other options to graduate.
After getting the juniors’ test results last February, “we took a very proactive approach,” assistant principal Jennifer Copeland told the Bristol Warren Regional School Committee Monday night.
Guidance counselors called down students who had scored poorly and told them what they needed to do, superintendent Melinda Thies said.
“The guidance staff were hyper-vigilant about contacting everyone. They did the best they could to assuage that feeling of anxiety and that feeling of hopelessness.”
Students were given access to after school intervention, summer school sessions and, this past fall, an additional math support class. Those students all took their senior NECAP test in October.
Ms. Copeland said school administrators also tried other approaches in case some students still grade poorly on October’s NECAP test.
Looking at other standardized tests that could fit the state’s graduation requirements, administrators settled on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test, which was administered at the school on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
“We strongly recommended they take it just in case,” she said.
The last several weeks have been a flurry of activity as students and teachers wait for their NECAP scores. School officials met with RIDE staff on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and are scheduling personalized appointments with guidance office staff to review the results once they come in on the 27th. Those meetings will take place between January 29-31.
Finally, a NECAP makeup test will be held over two days in early March. Those students who do not earn a proficiency rating in the October NECAP, and who did not take or did not pass the ASVAB test, have to take it.
“It’s incredibly bad timing because college letters start coming back in April,” Ms. Copeland said. “This is an incredibly anxiety-creating time for families.”
How are they doing? school committee member Lynn Wainwright asked.
“The hardest part is the waiting,” Ms. Copeland said. “I haven’t seen that students are feeling overwhelmed and are ready to throw in the towel. This wasn’t how they necessarily envisioned their senior year, but the overwhelming majority have stepped up.”