CUMBERLAND – A laser-like focus to improve the classroom experience for both teacher and student is paying off big time at Cumberland High School.
A 30-point improvement on the writing section of the NECAP is perhaps the most telling data point, according to school officials.
In just two years time, the number of students scoring proficient on the writing section of the NECAP has increased from 40% to 70%. The number of students scoring proficient in reading has increased from 82% in 2011-12 to 88% and during that same two-year period, the number of students scoring proficient in math has increased 15 percentage points.
“Being able to comprehend what you’ve read and learned, and then articulate your thoughts in a way that others can understand, is perhaps the best barometer we have in measuring how well we as a learning community are doing,” said Cumberland High School Principal Alan Tenreiro. “Certainly, NECAP testing is only one measurement – and it has its flaws - but it is an indicator that our efforts are successful.”
NECAP, the New England Common Assessment Program is a series of reading, writing, mathematics, and science achievement tests, administered annually, which were developed in response to the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. It is a collaborative project of the New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont departments of education, with assistance from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments. The NECAP tests measure students’ academic knowledge and skills relative to grade expectations. The tests were created by teams of teachers representing the three states.
Mr. Tenreiro cited higher expectations for all – student, teacher, and staff – better professional development and coaching for teachers, and a more rigorous educational experience for students as ingredients in the recipe for success.
Meanwhile, graduation rates have also improved during that same time period, with 85 percent of students now graduating on time, compared with 81 percent last year.
“This is another example of the great work occurring in our high school,” Superintendent Phil Thornton said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but its becoming more clear every day that Cumberland High School, thanks to the efforts of the teachers, support staff, students, and parents, is well on its way to becoming one of the best public high schools in the state.”
A more comprehensive report on NECAP results will be provided at the February 13th meeting of the school committee. The meeting will be held in the Cumberland High School Transitional Building Cafetorium at 7:30 p.m.