While the newly released results of the most recent batch of RICAS test data isn’t exactly a cause for celebration, they at least provide some hope that we are getting our kids back on a …
While the newly released results of the most recent batch of RICAS test data isn’t exactly a cause for celebration, they at least provide some hope that we are getting our kids back on a positive path towards better educational outcomes.
While Rhode Island 3rd through 8th graders, as a combined whole, are still devastatingly struggling in math and English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency (just under 30% in the former, and around 33% for the latter), many individual districts did see a pronounced increase in scores from last year, and the pandemic-stricken year prior to that when remote learning upended progress for learners of all capabilities and districts of all calibers.
Locally, Warwick’s district saw an increase from 22.6% proficiency in math in 2022 to 27% in 2023 (a nearly 20% increase), and from 28.9% in ELA in 2022 to 31% in 2023. In Cranston, scores jumped from 21.7% in math in 2022 to 25.8% in 2023 (a 19% increase), and jumped half a percentage point from 32% in 2022 to 32.5% in ELA. Johnston, unfortunately, was one of the few districts to record a decrease in the number of proficient students in math, from 21.7% in 2022 to 20.9% in 2023; although ELA proficiency increased slightly from 32.2% to 32.6%.
These numbers illustrate that students are very much still in the process of recuperating from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which as expected has resulted in shockwaves in their academic development that have persisted long since they were fully re-integrated into physical school buildings. That recovery process can be expected to continue throughout the coming years, especially for students in these grade ranges, due to the incredibly important developmentally time period in which they were disrupted.
However, the majority of districts experiencing an upswing in scores does at least hold a silver lining of improvement, which can be built upon going forward. Solving Rhode Island’s educational proficiency problem was never going to be something accomplished in a short period of time, and can only come after many years, perhaps decades, of continuing to invest in public education and educational assistance resources, and in the people who are tasked with educating our future leaders.
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