Rockwell among highest-performing schools in Rhode Island — again

By Scott Pickering
Posted 10/24/19

For the second year in a row, standardized test scores confirm that Rockwell Elementary School is one of the two best schools in the state of Rhode Island.

In English Language Arts, Rockwell …

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Rockwell among highest-performing schools in Rhode Island — again

Posted

For the second year in a row, standardized test scores confirm that Rockwell Elementary School is one of the two best schools in the state of Rhode Island.

In English Language Arts, Rockwell students were the best in the state. In Mathematics, they were fourth-best. Rockwell’s doppleganger is Nayatt Elementary School in Barrington, where students had the highest scores in Mathematics and fourth-highest in English Language Arts. They were the only two schools in Rhode Island — elementary or middle — to finish in the top five in both categories during testing last spring.

“I’m so so proud of my teachers and students,” said Rockwell School Principal Tara McAuliffe on Wednesday morning. She said the credit belongs to many people. “It’s kids, it’s parents, and it’s teachers … Without any one of those components, we would not be as successful as we are.”

The Rockwell scores reflect the aptitude of students in Grades 3 to 5 who took the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) tests last spring. Administered statewide to students in Grades 3 to 8, the tests measure whether students perform at, above or below expectations.

At Rockwell, 81.4 percent of students either met or exceeded the expectations in Language Arts; and 72 percent did so in Mathematics. The results are impressive because 100 percent of students in the school took the assessment tests, including special education students, and they are even more impressive because no students failed to meet any of the expectations in Language Arts, and just 2 percent failed to meet expectations in Mathematics.

In other words, nearly every student in the school is achieving some or all of what is expected. In contrast, other Bristol Warren elementary schools saw from 5 to 15 percent of its students fall below all expectations.

Ms. McAuliffe said they are very proud to see everyone in the school making progress. “What that means is that even the kids who struggle a little bit, they’re moving and they’re growing,” she said. “We work really hard to give everybody what they need.”

She said education, in general, has changed dramatically in recent years. “It’s become so much more personalized and individualized to each student,” she said. “You have to have a lot of data for every student … and you’re always asking what more can you do for every student, for every lesson. You’re always personalizing for your kids. You’re always personalizing interventions.”

Ms. McAuliffe said there are strategies within the classroom to help all students learn. “Teachers are grouping kids based on what they’re demonstrating every day,” she said. “It’s how our teachers teach within a classroom.” The high-performing students are often grouped together and challenged to go further, and the lower-performing students are often grouped together to get the extra attention they need.

“It’s called the workshop model,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “Our district has embraced that for a long time, and we have teachers who have embraced it and taken it to a whole new level.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Rockwell also has some of the highest levels of students performing above expectations. In Language Arts, a whopping 31 percent of students exceeded expectations — only a handful of schools in Rhode Island had even 20 percent of their students exceeding expectations. And in Mathematics, Rockwell had the second-highest performance in the state, at 19 percent of students exceeding expectations — less than 1 percent behind Primrose Hill Elementary School in Barrington.

“Our teachers are really great at what they are teaching,” Ms. McAuliffe said. “It comes down to great relationships and strong instruction … those things married together really create success.”

Guiteras School

Consistent with past years, no school in the Bristol Warren Regional School District performed close to the level of Rockwell, though there are areas of strength. At Guiteras Elementary School, 59 percent of students met or exceeded the expectations for Mathematics — 24th out of 230 Rhode Island schools. And 60 percent met or exceeded the expectations for Language Arts — 47th out of the 230 Rhode Island schools. Additionally, only 5 percent of Guiteras students fell below expectations in either category.

Colt Andrews School

At Colt Andrews Elementary School, 46 percent met or exceeded expectations in Mathematics — 60th in the state. And 57 percent met or exceeded expectations in Language Arts — 61st out of 230 Rhode Island schools.

Hugh Cole School

Hugh Cole Elementary School in Warren finished in the middle of the pack among Rhode Island schools, though much stronger in Math. It was 85th in Mathematics, with 41 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations. And it was 114th in Language Arts, with 44 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations.

Kickemuit Middle School

The district’s middle school struggled in Mathematics — 33 percent of students met or exceeded expectations (110th in Rhode Island). Students showed higher aptitude in Language Arts, with 48 percent meeting or exceeding expectations (94th in the state).

LANGUAGE ARTS SCORES

Rockwell School

  • Exceeding expectations: 31%
  • Meeting: 50%
  • Partially meeting: 19%
  • Not meeting: 0%

Guiteras School

  • Exceeding expectations: 9%
  • Meeting: 51%
  • Partially meeting: 35%
  • Not meeting: 5%

Colt Andrews

  • Exceeding expectations: 6%
  • Meeting: 51%
  • Partially meeting: 36%
  • Not meeting: 7%

Kickemuit Middle School

  • Exceeding expectations: 10%
  • Meeting: 38%
  • Partially meeting: 39%
  • Not meeting: 13%

Hugh Cole School

  • Exceeding expectations: 5.5%
  • Meeting: 39%
  • Partially meeting: 48%
  • Not meeting: 7.5%

 

MATHEMATICS SCORES

Rockwell School

  • Exceeding expectations: 19%
  • Meeting: 53%
  • Partially meeting: 26%
  • Not meeting: 2%

Guiteras School

  • Exceeding expectations: 10%
  • Meeting: 49%
  • Partially meeting: 35%
  • Not meeting: 6%

Colt Andrews

  • Exceeding expectations: 5%
  • Meeting: 42%
  • Partially meeting: 41%
  • Not meeting: 12%

Hugh Cole School

  • Exceeding expectations: 5%
  • Meeting: 36%
  • Partially meeting: 45%
  • Not meeting: 14%

Kickemuit Middle School

  • Exceeding expectations: 4%
  • Meeting: 29%
  • Partially meeting: 52%
  • Not meeting: 15%

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.