Providence, R.I. (February 11, 2014) – At the meeting of the Providence School Board
last night, Board members heard a presentation from staff that highlighted an
increase in graduation rate and 3-year positive trend in dropout rates. Graduation
rates are up from 65.2% last year to 71.4%, and the dropout rate is down from 20.5%
to 12% since 2009.
Challenges remain for the class of 2014 with the new conjunctive graduation
requirements, which include the NECAP standardized assessment in math and reading,
but the district is committed to helping students succeed in overcoming that hurdle.
“While we still have work to do, the Providence community should be rightfully proud
of our nearly 6 percentage point increase in the 4-year graduation rate and 5
percentage point decrease in dropout.” said Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi. “We now
have to take the same determination that led to these accomplishments and use it to
help every one of our students graduate and also ensure that they are assessed and
treated fairly throughout the process.”
In the 2012-13 school year, the class of 2014 took the NECAP test as 11th graders.
In that test administration, 65% scored substantially below proficient math and 20%
scored likewise in reading. Consequently, these students were in jeopardy of not
meeting the new state assessment graduation requirement. The district immediately
began intervention efforts to ensure awareness by students and their families, as
well as targeted school year and summer academic supports to aid those students in
addressing the skill gaps that may have been impeding them on the test.
Those students had the opportunity to re-take the test as 12th graders in October
2013. In total, 883 students needed to take one or both of the required sections –
880 for math, and 409 for reading, either to attain a score of 2 (partially
proficient) or to demonstrate sufficient growth from their previous testing.
After testing, 620 students remain in jeopardy by not having scored at sufficient
levels in math, reading, or both. Of the students not hitting the mark, at least 96%
are living in poverty based on measures of free and reduced lunch. In reading, 48%
of those not scoring sufficiently are identified as having Limited English
Proficiency (LEP). And students having IEPs for special education services are
disproportionately represented in both content areas, with 28% of those not meeting
math and 36% of those not meeting reading having IEPs, while just under 23% of 12th
graders have IEPs.
The district is working diligently to support those students who remain in jeopardy
of not graduating by helping them succeed at the NECAP or another alternative test,
and by providing waivers to those who qualify.