A pair of Barrington elementary schools recently received the highest designation possible under a new statewide school classification system.
Primrose Hill and Sowams Elementary Schools were among 26 Rhode Island schools to be placed into the Rhode Island Accountability System’s “Commended” category. The 2012 School Classifications were released by Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist with a press release on Friday.
The release states the system is designed to “recognize outstanding performance” and “provide support to law-achieving schools.” The new accountability system reportedly enables the Rhode Island Department of Education to focus on achievement gaps and diagnose school performance by identifying specific shortcomings and achievements at individual schools.
Additionally, the system reportedly allows for providing each school with the specific support or intervention needed to improve student achievement and close achievement gaps along with providing schools the ability to select interventions that respond to their context and needs.
The U.S. Department of Education reportedly approved the system in late May.
The 2012 classifications are based on a number of factors including the number of students who have reached or exceeded a level of “proficient” on state assessments (the New England Common Assessment Program or NECAP) in math and reading, the number of students that have achieved “proficient with distinction” on these same assessments, the percentage of eligible students at a respective school that participated in testing and whether a school is serving all students including those with disabilities and English learners, among other areas.
These areas are weighed with a number of possible points that differ slightly between high school and kindergarten through eighth grade. Schools are then classified based on their total score out of a possible 100 points.
The classifications include Commended, Leading, Typical, Warning, Focus and Priority.
Commended schools are said to have the highest scores in the state and no achievement gaps. They are reportedly recognized because of either high performance or significant progress.
Sowams Elementary School had a score of 82.9 while Primrose Hill received 77 total points.
Both Barrington High School (71) and Barrington Middle School (75) were classified as “Leading” while Hampden Meadows School (64.5) and Nayatt Elementary School (67.7) were classified as “Typical.” Leading schools reportedly have an index score of between 70 and 76 while Typical schools have an index score between 50 and 70.
The state average for elementary schools was 49.3 while the middle school average was 57.5 and the high school average 55.3.