Mixed bag around area, as some schools move up, others falter

Some area schools made significant gains over last year in the annual New England Common Assessment Program test, while others saw their numbers go in the other direction.

At Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School, 65 percent of students scores proficient in reading, up from 61 percent last year. And in math, 61 percent of students scored proficient, up from 53 percent last year.

Principal Jane Quigley said the results reflect progress that teachers have been seeing in students for several years.

“I think we’re seeing more improvement than even the results show,” she said.

Kathy Jean, a reading specialist at Dr. Crisp, said the school has put a significant emphasis on early intervention, trying to catch students who are struggling as early as kindergarten.

“The results to take time do start to show,” she said.

A group of teachers at the school said they were pleased with the progress they had made but would be spending the next few weeks going through the data, looking for areas of concern.

The results of the NECAP are used by the state to determine whether schools are making “adequate yearly progress,” a requirement of No Child Left Behind. Schools won’t find out until the spring whether their scores improved enough.

Ledge Street Elementary School saw reading, math and writing scores all increase significantly over the past year.

In reading, 59 percent of students scored proficient, up from 46 percent last year. In math, 51 percent scored proficient, up from 42 percent. And in writing, 60 percent of student scored proficient, up from 39 percent.

Mount Pleasant Elementary School saw its reading scores improve drastically, with 68 percent of students scoring proficient. Last year, only 54 percent of students scored proficient in reading.

Fairgrounds Elementary School saw its results drop from last year in reading and math. In reading, only 63 percent of students scored proficient, down from 76 percent last year.

And in math, 50 percent of students scored proficient, down from 64 percent last year.

The low math and writing scores at the high school could be indication that a number of students are struggling in those subjects.

In Nashua, administrators changed the schedule during testing days, requiring students taking the test to come in at the normal time and have a delayed opening for all other students.

This was meant to give the test-taking students the buildings to themselves and a more relaxed atmosphere. There was also discussion about putting the NECAP scores on the high school transcripts.

Debbie Woelflein, assistant superintendent in Merrimack, said she was pleased with the results from her district, after having spent the morning going over some of the numbers.

“We’ve been looking at the general picture and I am seeing some progress,” she said.

Last year, 77 percent of third-grade students in Merrimack were proficient in reading. That figured increased to 84 percent this year. In math, the percentage of third-graders proficient in math in Merrimack dropped only slightly, from 81 percent to 80 percent.

Individual student results will be distributed to parents within the next few weeks.