Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2008-2009 New Hampshire used the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in reading and math, and in grades 5, 8 and 11 in writing. The NECAP was administered to grade 11 students for the first time in 2007-2008. The NECAP is standards-based, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New Hampshire.

How are the tests scored?

NECAP results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of four levels: substantially below proficient, partially proficient, proficient and proficient with distinction. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?

For each subject on the NECAP, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the proficient level is displayed.

Why do the tests matter?

New Hampshire test results provide an indication of whether students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards. New Hampshire does not require that students score at a particular level on the state tests to be promoted or to graduate from high school.

It is important to be aware of both your child’s score on the assessments and the overall score for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child’s learning at home.

If the school’s overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for obtaining supplemental services or for transferring to a higher-performing school.

A few parting words

Although test results can be an indicator of what’s happening in the classroom, they don’t tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.

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