About test results in New Hampshire

Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2006-2007 New Hampshire used the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math and in grades 5 and 8 in writing. In 2005-2006, New Hampshire used the New Hampshire Educational Improvement and Assessment Program (NHEIAP, pronounced "NEE-yap") to test students in grade 10 in reading and math. These tests are standards-based, which means they measure specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New Hampshire.

How are the tests scored?
NECAP and NHEIAP results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students taking the NECAP 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. Students taking the NHEIAP are rated at one of four levels: novice, basic, proficient or advanced. Although scoring at the basic level meets state standards, the goal is for all students to eventually score at or above the proficient level.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?
For the NECAP, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the proficient level is displayed. For the NHEIAP, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the basic level is displayed.

GreatSchools also displays NECAP and NHEIAP subgroup results to show how different groups of students are scoring in comparison to the overall student population in a given grade and subject. These subgroups are identified by the New Hampshire Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.

Why do the tests matter?
New Hampshire test scores 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.

What changes to the tests are planned for the future?
In 2007-2008 New Hampshire will implement NECAP tests in math, reading, writing and science for grade 11 and in science for grades 4 and 8.

A few parting words
Even though 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 quality and visit in person before making any final assessment.

Source: NH Dept. of Education, 2006-2007

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