Gist reacts to kneecapped NECAP

Following the announcement this afternoon that Gov. Chafee had allowed to become law a bill that deferred NECAP testing as a graduation requirement, RIDE Commissioner Deborah Gist released the following statement to the media:

Statement on legislation on standardized assessments and graduation decisions
Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner
July 1, 2014

Student readiness for college, careers, and life remains our highest priority, and we will continue working with our school districts to prepare all students for success.

Based on regulations put in place in 2008, we expected students in the Class of 2014 to attain the level of at least partial proficiency or show significant improvement on state assessments in order to be eligible to earn a diploma. As a result, students, families, teachers, and community members stepped up to ensure that our students received additional support to improve their skills, particularly in mathematics. Because of that effort, more than 2,000 students significantly improved their performance in mathematics and at least 95 percent of all high-school seniors met the state-assessment graduation requirement.

Given the change in law, we will continue working with school leaders and teachers to make sure students still receive the support they need to improve their achievement levels and to be ready for success in college and in challenging careers.

During the many public discussions of our Diploma System, every voice raised called for high expectations and extra supports for our students. We all agree on this point. This legislation states that Rhode Island shall use standardized assessments “to promote school improvement and to target remediation programs to individual students and groups of students.” We will remain constant in our commitment to setting high expectations for students and to providing students with the instruction, support, and resources they need to meet these expectations.

–Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

Editorial note: Written from a press release.