Tiverton High School cracks top ten in science proficiency

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UnknownTIVERTON — Good news came from Tiverton School Superintendent William Rearick recently about the results of NECAP science testing in May — for the Tiverton School District as a whole and for grades four, eight, and eleven.

District-wide, 45.7 percent of the 405 students who took the test were considered proficient in science, an improvement of 13.9 percent over 2008. In that year, 31.7 percent of the 460 Tiverton students in the three grades tested were considered proficient.

This year’s district-wide science proficiency score represents a 4.8 percent improvement compared with 2012.

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) said the five-year proficiency improvement since 2008 was statistically significant, though the bump upwards from last year was not.

The science proficiency of Tiverton students in the three grade levels is 11.7 percent higher than the statewide level of approximately 34 percent for the 31,956 students who took the science tests last May, according to RIDE.

Comparable science-proficiency scores for other nearby school districts are: Portsmouth (51.1 percent), East Providence (30.5 percent), Bristol-Warren (42.1 percent), and Barrington (65.6 percent).

Superintendent Rearick presented powerpoint data to the School Committee at its meeting last Tuesday that showed 57 percent of Tiverton fourth-graders tested as science-proficient, compared with a statewide level of 41 percent (a difference of +16 percent).

Eighth-grade students in Tiverton, he said, were proficient in science at a rate of 36 percent, compared to the statewide proficiency level of 25 percent (11 percent better).

The 126 high school students who took the test this year, he said, scored a proficiency level that was 15.5 percent higher than that achieved by the 154 students who took the test in 2008, an increase from 30.5 percent to 46 percent.

Tiverton High School students, Mr. Rearick said, scored 16 percent higher in science proficiency than the statewide level.

Steven Fezette, THS principal, said Tiverton High science scores went up while the statewide level declined, and that the high school placed ninth in the state, its first appearance in the top ten.

“I am pleased with the gains that were made at four out of our five

schools,” Mr. Rearick said, attributing a decline at Pocasset to an influx of new students at the school. “I believe these gains are a result of the new science curriculum adopted three years ago.”

School-by-school breakdown

With one exception, according to RIDE-reported data , none of the Tiverton schools showed statistically significant changes in the percentages of students considered proficient when compared to 2008 or to last year.                                                                                                                                                • Tiverton Middle School:

The exception was Tiverton Middle School, which showed a 19.5 percent jump — to 35.9 percent of the 142 eighth-grade students tested compared with 2008. In that year, 16.5 percent of the 158 students tested scored proficient.

That increase was significant, said RIDE.

The middle school’s change this year from last was 6.7 percent — an increase from 29.2 to 35.9 percent deemed proficient — a change RIDE did not consider statistically significant.

• Fort Barton Elementary:

Fort Barton showed a 24.4 percent jump — to 81.6 percent of the 38 students tested— in the numbers of students considered proficient in science this year compared with five years ago in 2008, when 57.1 percent of the 21 students tested then were so considered.

Fort Barton school’s change this year from last was 3.2 percent.

• Pocasset Elementary:

Pocasset showed a decline of 2.1 percent — down to to 35.6 percent of the 45 students tested— in the numbers of students considered proficient in science this year compared with five years ago in 2008, when 37.7 percent of the 61 students tested then were so considered.

Pocasset school’s change this year from last showed a decline of 12.3 percent.

In his powerpoint presentation to the school committee, Mr. Rearick said, that after after reviewing Pocasset’s results, the district found that nine of the students who took the assessment test were new to the district. “This was a contributing factor in why the scores decreased,” he said.

• Walter E. Ranger Elementary:

The Ranger School posted a 1.6 percent increase — to 59.2 percent of the 49 students tested — in the numbers of students considered proficient in science this year compared with five years ago in 2008, when 57.6 percent of the 66 students tested then were so considered.

The Ranger School’s change this year from last was an increase of 5.3 percent who were considered proficient.

• Tiverton High School:

Tiverton High School showed a 15.5 percent increase to 46 percent of the 126 students tested in the numbers of students considered proficient in science this year compared with five years ago in 2008, when 30.5 percent of the 154 students tested then were so considered.

The high school’s increase this year over last in the percentage of students considered proficient in science was 6.7 percent, from 39.3 of the150 students tested to 46 percent.

Mr. Rearick said the new science curriculum in Tiverton schools is now in its third year, and that science teachers at every grade level will be analyzing the assessment results, with their department heads and their principals, in order to guide instruction for the remainder of the school year.

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