Central Falls School District Reacts To RICAS Assessment Results
Disappointing results point to continued need to focus on implementing elements of Central Falls Equity Blueprint for Success
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) announced yesterday the performance results for students in grades 3 through 8 on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS). The RICAS is the Rhode Island version of the Massachusetts MCAS grade 3-8 English language arts and math assessment and it focuses on students’ critical thinking abilities, application of knowledge, and ability to make connections between reading and writing. Students in Central Falls participated in the assessment first given in spring 2018 which replaced the PARCC assessment.
The results on the RICAS for Central Falls students fell short of expectations and point to the need for the district to continue to accelerate the process of redesign, which is a collaborative process with our teachers and staff throughout the district to ensure that we reverse this trend across all of our schools, from pre-k through 12th grade. On the ELA section, 34% of Rhode Island’s students in grades three through eight are considered proficient. For math, 27% of students met or exceeded expectations statewide. Among our Central Falls 3rd-8th graders, only 10% were proficient in ELA and 7% in math.
“We know that we have a lot of work ahead of us and we are not satisfied with these results,” said Victor Capellan, Superintendent of Schools in Central Falls. “As a district, we are engaged in a comprehensive redesign effort that we expect will make the necessary reforms to improve results and close stubborn achievement gaps. We are treating these results with the necessary urgency and will act to make adjustments and investments to support our students and our educators to reach high but attainable achievement goals. Our redesign efforts are yielding some positive early results, but these RICAS scores show that we must make further improvements. We are not going to make excuses, place blame or point fingers; we are going to get back to work and aim for the high expectations the state has rightly set for our students. We believe we fundamentally need to change our actions to continue to be true to our commitment to equity and excellence for all of our students.”
“These results further confirm for us that our Central Falls Equity Blueprint for Education Success is essential in helping us achieve academic results for students,” said Anna Cano-Morales, Chairperson of the Central Falls Board of Trustees. “As a state-managed school district, the only local education agency of its kind, we have made significant gains over the years with the help of our educators, our community partners, and our leadership. However, much more must be done to address the needs of our students and especially our emerging bilingual students.”
The Central Falls School District is now looking forward to seeing how the RICAS results will play a role when school report cards are released in mid-December. The district has made significant improvements that will be added together in the state’s new accountability plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Central Falls has made improvements in its graduation rates, has lowered chronic absenteeism rates for students and teachers, and thanks to implementation of Restorative Practices has lowered its suspension rates.
Central Falls posted a strong Student Growth Percentile score, which accounts for a student’s learning over time compared with his or her academic peers. The district’s student growth is approaching the state’s average for growth over the last two years, which is an early sign that the reforms that have been put in place are having a positive impact on student learning.
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