Barrington school officials still analyzing NECAP scores

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Paula Dillon is digging deep.

The school’s director of curriculum and instruction is “desegregating” all the scores from the recent round of the New England Common Assessment Program exams in an effort to better understand why some local students struggled on the tests while others excelled.

Ms. Dillon has been analyzing the information since the results were released in early February.

“I’m still in the process of going through the released items,” Ms. Dillon said, referring to test material shared by the state’s department of education with local school administrators. “It takes time, but it’s worth it.”

Part of her work is focused on figuring out why some elementary school students’ scores fell by more than 10 percent from just a year ago. All three kindergarten through grade three schools (Nayatt, Sowams and Primrose Hill) saw decreases in scores.

Ms. Dillon said she has not fully desegregated that information, so she can’t yet supply a clear reason for the slip, but she added that some of her work has revealed impressive gains made by other local students.

She pointed to last year’s fourth-graders.

On the reading portion of the recent NECAP tests, the students improved from being 84 percent proficient last year to 92 percent this year. In math, the same group went from 84 percent proficient to 87 percent. Last year’s fifth-graders showed similar jumps.

“I see scores going up when you look at it at an individual student level,” Ms. Dillon said.

“The grades we have done so far, we’re seeing we are making some gains. This year we made some nice gains.”

Bob Shea, chairman of the school committee, said he anticipates a full report in the near future from district administrators regarding the recent NECAP scores.

“We were surprised and we were concerned, and the educators are taking a very close look and diving into those numbers to see strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

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