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Students Fall Into NECAP Gaps

Students Fall Into NECAP Gaps

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Published by dcass_1
The question is, will the Board of Regents and Commissioner Gist keep pushing this proposal despite the overwhelming evidence that this is an unjust, illegal plan? Why let the future of Rhode Island students be decided by the courts, when there is overwhelming evidence that this plan will devastate the bright futures of so many of our young people?
The question is, will the Board of Regents and Commissioner Gist keep pushing this proposal despite the overwhelming evidence that this is an unjust, illegal plan? Why let the future of Rhode Island students be decided by the courts, when there is overwhelming evidence that this plan will devastate the bright futures of so many of our young people?

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Published by: dcass_1 on Feb 02, 2011
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Cass
David CassFebruary 1, 2011
Students Fall into NECAP Gaps
When considering if the NECAP test should be used to determine the type of diploma a student is awarded, it seems reasonable that we examine all the researchbacking up the NECAP. After all, if the test is not a reliable measure of a student’sknowledge and abilities, then it is likely that some students will not receive the diplomathey deserve, ultimately limiting their postsecondary options. How will colleges look atstudents with the lower level diplomas? How will employers judge their skills andabilities? The cost is great. We must be certain we have the right test when so much ison the line. Alarmingly, a review of the research on validity of the NECAP, all of themcompleted by Measured Progress (the creator of NECAP), convincingly demonstrates thatthe NECAP is not a valid measure for a significant percentage of Rhode Island students. The implication is that not only is the NECAP a high stake test, it “drives a stake” throughwhat should be the bright future of Rhode Island students.In a series of studies completed under the New England Compact (NEC),researchers have found there is a population of students for whom the NECAP does notaccurately assess their knowledge and skills. For example, in
Reaching students in thedaps: A study of assessment gaps, students, and alternatives
, two Measured Progressresearchers, Sue Bechard and Ken Godin, come to this explicit conclusion: “For thesetwo distinct profiles of students who did not achieve proficiency on the test, the currentassessment is not an accurate representation of their skills and/or progress. Theseprofiles support the findings that different approaches to testing are needed”(NewEngland Compact 5). As you can see from the table below, the two groups of studentsinclude students with learning disabilities, English Language Learners, as well asstudents from the general population.
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(New England Compact 4)Clearly the researchers found the evidence to support the existence of students forwhom the NECAP is not a valid assessment. Furthermore, they go on to say thefollowing:Results both from interviews and the analysis of test resultsconfirmed that there are two gaps in the assessment systemswe investigated. Furthermore, each gap contained, incontrasting proportions, students with disabilities, Englishlanguage learners, and students in general education programs. This exploratory study suggests that different approaches toassessment may be indicated to respond to the needs of distinctly different populations of students in two assessmentgaps.(New England Compact 4) 
Implications for Rhode Island Students
What is perhaps most alarming about these studies is the percentage of thestudent population that fall into the “gap.” In
Who are the Students in the Gaps:
 
What are their Attributes, and how do they Perform?,
Bechard and Godin conclude that roughly8.6% of students fall into Gap 1 and as much as 2.3% of students fall into Gap #2 (6).Added together, that is 10.9% of the student population. This means 10.9% of studentsmay not be awarded the diploma that they rightly deserve. This raises several legal
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questions about whether the current proposal is in violation of both No Child LeftBehind (NCLB) as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This evidence, from external researchers, including the designers of the test,shows critical gaps that make the NECAP an inadequate measure--the wrong measurefor these purposes. While the intent might not to be unjust, using this test in aconjunctive system is unjust. If the current proposal is approved, there is no doubt that itwill end up in the courts. The question is, will the Board of Regents and CommissionerGist keep pushing this proposal despite the overwhelming evidence that this is an unjust,illegal plan? Why let the future of Rhode Island students be decided by the courts, whenthere is overwhelming evidence that this plan will devastate the bright futures of somany of our young people?Works CitedBechard, Sue and Godin, Ken. New England Compact (2007).
Who are the students inthe gaps: What are their attributes, and how do they perform
(Grant CFDA #84.368 of the U.S. Department of Education, Office
 
of Elementary and Secondary Education,awarded to the Rhode Island Department of 
 
Education). Newton, MA: EducationDevelopment Center, Inc.New England Compact (2007).
Reaching students in the gaps: A study of assessment gaps, students, and alternatives
(Grant CFDA #84.368 of the U.S. Department of Education, Officeof Elementary and Secondary Education, awarded to the Rhode IslandDepartment of 
 
Education). Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc.
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