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Page 12

Nutfield News • April 15, 2010

In Spite of Improvements, Negative Labels Go with Test Scores

ADAM COUGHLIN

NUTFIELD NEWS

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After reviewing the re- sults of the 2009-10 New England Common Assess- ment Program (NECAP) tests, the Derry Cooperative School District failed to meet Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) in both math and read- ing. Nevertheless, school of- ficials are pleased with the progress being made in the district as a whole. AYP is calculated through an index system, according to

Assistant

Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian. Each year, schools are given a Performance Index Target. This year that score was 91

percent proficient in reading and 88 percent proficient in math for grades 3-8. For grade 11, it is 89 percent in reading and 72 percent in math. Schools and districts receive full credit for students scoring proficient or higher (levels 3 and 4) and partial credit is given for each stu- dent scoring below proficient. “To make AYP, a school or district must meet per- formance targets established for students in reading and mathematics, as well as meet state targets for student par- ticipation, attendance, and graduation (at high school),” said New Hampshire De- partment of Education Com- missioner Virginia Barry. “Student performance in the

school as a whole is meas- ured, as well as the perform- ance of specific subgroups of students.”

There are four subgroups

tested: ethnicity, socioeco- nomic status, educational dis- ability, and non or limited English proficiency. If a school has 11 or more stu- dents who qualify for educa- tional disability, they become a subgroup. If one subgroup fails to meet a proficiency standard, the entire school or district does not meet AYP. This benefits smaller dis- tricts without as many sub- groups, Connors-Krikorian said.

“Some students struggle,

but achieving progress in each student is our goal,” she said. “Teachers and adminis- trators work hard every day to enhance and modify instruc- tional practices for all stu- dents.” Even though East Derry Memorial Elementary School was the only school to meet

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AYP in both math and read- ing, there is cause for opti- mism, according to Connors- Krikorian.

As a district, Derry met

AYP for the year. The whole district scored 91.7 in English and 89.1 in math, which exceeded the requirements. Another sign of improve- ment is that last year, the dis- trict failed to meet AYP in all three subcategories (econom- ic disadvantage, educational disability, and non or limited English proficiency). This year only one educational disability failed to make AYP. “To make AYP in two out of three subgroups is a cause for celebration,” Connors- Krikorian said. “Progress is being made and as long as we’re making progress, I think parents will stand behind us.”

The district failed to make

AYP in reading by one sub- group as well, educational disability, which scored a 71.6 in reading and a 66.3 in

math, which shows a two point index score improve- ment in reading and a 2.3 point index score improve- ment for math. Derry Village School

failed to make AYP in math and reading, the second year it has been listed as a School In Need of Improvement (SINI).

East Derry Memorial Elementary School made AYP in both reading and math. It is still listed as a SINI because it takes two consecu- tive years of making AYP to lose that label. Ernest P. Barka Elemen- tary School, South Range Elementary School, West Running Brook Middle School and Gilbert H. Hood Middle School all failed to make AYP in math and read- ing, again because of one subgroup. Grinnell Elemen- tary School made AYP in reading but not in math. “We have the label,” Connors-Krikorian said. “But to us labels don’t tell the whole story. They make us

reflect, which causes us to dig deeper and the deeper we dig, the better the results improve.”

All schools have a 30-day time period to appeal. Pinkerton Academy also

failed to make AYP in both math and reading. It now enters its second year as a SINI in math.

Christopher Harper, dean of Academic Affairs, said Pinkerton as a whole made AYP in math and reading but some subgroups failed. In those subgroups, Harper said there was some improvement but in others there was not. “We have had substantial

improvement as a school as a whole,” Harper said. “Now it is time to dig into the data and find the subgroups that need to be better addressed.” According to the state

Department of Education, “Of the 473 school AYP reports released, 133 schools made AYP in all areas meas- ured and 323 did not make AYP in one or more areas.”

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