February 5, 2013

Maine's reading, math scores flatline

But Maine students' writing scores on standardized tests rise in 2012, the state reports.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Maine Department of Education announced Monday that standardized test scores in reading and math for grades 3 through 8 remained flat again, while writing scores increased slightly.

David Connerty-Marin, the department's spokesman, said the scores are taken from the latest New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, tests. Students took those tests in October 2012.

In reading, 71 percent of Maine students tested were proficient compared to 72 percent the year before.

In math, 62 percent of students were proficient compared to 63 percent last year.

NECAP writing scores were slightly elevated from 48 percent proficient in 2010 and 46 percent in 2011 to 51 percent in the October test.

Only grades 5 and 8 are given writing tests.

"This continues a multi-year flat-lining of our math and reading scores," Dan Hupp, director of standards and assessment for the state education department, said in a prepared statement.

Hupp acknowledged that writing scores have varied from year to year, but he said he hopes this year's scores represent the start of an upward trend.

Connerty-Marin said the NECAP test will be administered one final time in October of this year; the state joined New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont in administering NECAP tests in 2009.

In 2014-15, as part of a group of states called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Maine will begin testing students using Common Core Standards.

"It should be a more rigorous test," Connerty-Marin said. "And it will involve a much higher order of thinking."

But, he said, with at least 28 states signed up for the consortium, Maine will be able to compare its students' achievement with that reported by schools, districts and states from across the country.

The cost of developing the Smarter Balanced assessment system is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Once it has been developed, states must pay for the test.

The current estimated cost will be $27.31 per student.

Connerty-Marin said the flat test scores for reading and math are disturbing, but he added,

"There has been a flatness nationally and it's something everyone is trying to address."


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:



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