The Rhode Island State Assessment Program
The Rhode Island State Assessment Program includes a variety of assessments, some of which were created through a partnership among Rhode Island educators; some through a partnership among educators from Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont; one through a national partnership; and others that were selected from other assessment sources. The purposes of the state assessments are to provide:
- Data on student achievement in reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and English language proficiency to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB);
- Information to support program evaluation and improvement; and
- information to families and the public information on the performance of the students and schools.
The state assessments are constructed to meet rigorous technical criteria, include universal design elements and accommodations so that students can access test content, and gather reliable student demographic information for accurate reporting. School improvement is supported by:
Providing a test design based on the state-level Grade Level/Span Expectations (GLEs/GSEs) and publishing distributions of emphasis of the GLEs/GSEs on the tests and practice tests;
Reporting results by GLEs/GSEs subtopics and subgroups, and releasing items from each year's test; and
Hosting test interpretation workshops to understand results.
Student level results are provided to schools and families to be used as one piece of evidence about progress and learning that occurred on the prior year’s grade level expectations. The results capture a snapshot of a student’s performance and should be used cautiously together with school assessment information.
The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) is the result of collaboration among New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont to build a set of assessments for grades 3 through 8 and high school to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The states decided to work together for three important reasons to:
- Bring together a team of assessment and content specialists with experience and expertise greater than any individual state.
- Provide the capacity necessary for the three states to develop quality, customized assessments consistent with the overall goal of improving education.
- Allow the sharing of costs in the development of customized assessment program of a quality that would not be feasible for any individual state.
State testing in Rhode Island has changed dramatically in response to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). To meet these requirements, Rhode Island partnered with Vermont and New Hampshire to develop Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) and to design the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP). One of the most important goals of this partnership was to make these assessments instructionally relevant by providing information to school administrators, teachers, and parents to help them make informed decisions about student instructional needs.
NECAP results are used primarily for school improvement and accountability:
Achievement level data are used in the state accountability system required under NCLB.
Detailed school and district data help schools improve curriculum and instruction.
Assessment data inform classroom teachers as they plan instruction.
Individual student data are used to support student information gathered through classroom instruction and assessment.
NECAP was not designed to provide, in isolation, detailed student-level diagnostic information for formulating individual instructional plans. However, NECAP results can be used, along with other measures, to identify students' strengths and weaknesses. NECAP is only one indicator of student performance and should not be used for referring students to special education or for making promotion and/or graduation decisions.
In order to provide a valid assessment of students' attainment of the Grade Level/Span Expectations, a variety of test item types need to be used within the NECAP tests. Therefore, multiple-choice items, short-answer items, constructed response items, and extended-response writing prompts were used as follows:
Multiple choice Multiple-choice items are efficient for testing a broad array of content in a relatively short time span.
Short answer Open-ended items ask students to generate a short response to a question.
Constructed response (four points) Complex items that require students to give a longer response
Extended-response Topics or questions designed to prompt students to respond in depth.
You can find Rhode Island State Assessment Schedule information at: http://www.ride.ri.gov/Assessment/schedule.aspx
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