Chariho School Parents’ Forum

June 7, 2007

Academic Achievement – an overview

Filed under: Chariho,National,State-wide,Student Performance — Editor @ 11:03 pm

** This post was made on April 8th but I have updated it with the new info **

In the big picture, student performance in America has dropped precipitously from it’s once lofty perch as the best in the world.  We are now at #18 of the 24 top industrialized nations.

On a national level, Rhode Island ranks somewhere between #32 and #41 in student performance (depending on grade and subject).  And when you factor in poverty, cost of education and infrastructure, RI received a 0.9 GPA on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Leaders and Laggards” report on education, the lowest GPA in the nation.

Now lets take it to a local level.  How does Chariho compare to our neighbors?

Below are the 2006 NECAP test results for several of our demographic and geographic peers (North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Coventry, Exeter/West Greenwich and Westerly).

Here is Chariho’s Grade 8 District Results Report


Notice the percentage of students who score in the top quartile (Level 4 “proficient with distinction”) and bottom quartile (Level 1 “substantially below proficient”).  Now lets compare those numbers to our neighbors.

North Kingstown


South Kingstown




Exeter/West Greenwich




Notice that for students who score in the highest quartile (“proficient with distinction”), there are 15 comparisons to Chariho (5 schools and 3 disciplines – reading, math and writing).  In 14 of 15 comparisons, Chariho has the lowest percentage of students in the top performing group.  We beat Coventry in one category.

When you look at the lowest quartile (“substantially below proficient”), in all 15 comparison, Chariho has a larger percentage of it’s students who fall into this under-performing category. 

So, overall for our 8th graders, we ranked last in 29 of 30 comparisons and tied for last in 1.

Now lets look at Grade 3 comparisons.  Here are the Chariho results.


North Kingstown


South Kingstown




Exeter/West Greenwich




In 20 comparisons (5 schools, 2 subjects, high and low performers) Chariho was the worst performer in 17 of the 20.  We did manage to beat Exeter/West Greenwich in 2 measures and tied them in 1.

This first graph compares Chariho to our peers on the percentage of 8th graders who scored in the top 25% of the proficiency rating (“proficient with distinction”).

This graph compares Chariho to our peers on the percentage of 8th grade students who score in the bottom 25% of the proficiency rating (“substaintially below proficient”).

So lets review, America is ranked 18th in the industrialized world (depending on subject and study).  Rhode Island ranks between 32 and 41 in the nation.  And Chariho ranks last in our demographic and geographic peers.  So where does that put our students in a globally competitive market?



  1. When you live in a country where parents abdicate their responsibilities to schools – a country where sex education and value based issues are the purview of unrelated adults – a country where science curriculum is politically motivated rather than fact based – a country which supports and encourages single parented households – a country where children are routinely drugged into submission – a country where politicians in Washington, D.C. make policy decision for citizens in Ashaway, RI – c country where teachers’ national union advocates for gay marriage as their top agenda item – when you have all these wacky, misguided dynamics in play – you get a national educational system that fails children.

    When you live in a state dominated by one political party for decades – a state where corruption runs rampart – a state where who you know has greater importance than what you know – a state that is run by unions – a state where special interests have precedence over individual rights – a state where the educational establishment ignores the needs of children for the wants of educators – a state where we’re constantly told how underpaid teachers are by the media, with scant attention to how poorly our schools perform – when your states’ political system is out of control – you get a state educational system that fails children.

    When you live a local community which rewards incompetence with ever increasing budgets – a community where administrators are allowed to implement and maintain curriculum that harms children – a community where multiple surveys are needed to make decisions any thinking person inherently knows is right – a community where the school is one of the biggest employers – a community where the administration bypasses the Chariho Act and creates a program without community approval, a community when hiding information is the rule – when you have a local school administration that puts a priority on empire building – you get a local educational system that fails children.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 9, 2007 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  2. To everyone in Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton — LOOK AT THESE SCORES!!They are on the Chariho School web site — they are not hidden.

    By the way, I have been told that the low scores are the parents fault. They must be right. I know we do not have stupid children or imcompetent teachers and the administration says it is not the fault of the curriculum or any of the staff. We are the last option.

    Please vote NO until we get some vague semblance of accountability or at least minor outrage.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 9, 2007 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  3. I hate to disagree with you, Barbara. But the latest Kids Count Fact Book shows that the home environment in the Chariho towns is better than in the towns compared in these test scores.

    I will be putting out an open letter to the Chariho admin, Chariho Town Councils, the Gov’s Office and the press later tonight. The tag line is – if our home environments in Chariho are better, and we spend more per pupil than all but Exeter/West Greenwich, then why are our scores lower?

    I do agree with you that we should vote no on the budget. Until more pressure is put on the Board, we will never address our runaway costs.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — April 9, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  4. Actually Bill, the last option for poor scores is “old school buildings”. If we were in Central Falls, that argument may hold.

    Comment by BarbaraC — April 9, 2007 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  5. I was very disappointed when I saw these scores. So, I want to know what the school committee and the administration are doing about them?

    Since this is my first entry in this blog, let me tell you how I stand on a couple of issues. First, I’m all for the 5th and 6th graders to be returned to the elementary schools. Secondly, I strongly feel that a new math curriculum should be adopted as soon as possible.

    When I saw these scores, I took out a pen and a piece of paper to compare the 8th grade with the other districts and the state. When I looked at those that scored “proficient” or “proficient with distinction” as a whole, I was astonished how poorly we did in all 3 areas, Reading, Math, and Writing.

    Then I compared the grade 3 numbers. Reading was off slightly, and math was off dras-tically.

    With new questions in mind, I searched to find info on grade configuration. All but one of the other districts has the following grade configuration: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. So, is it possible that our current grade configuration may have a small part in the numbers?

    Additionally, many are aware that our math curriculum has come under fire as late. And for good reason. If you look at our math percentiles for the 3rd grade, they are drastically lower than the other districts.

    To compare percentiles at “proficient” and “proficient with distinction” as a whole at the 3rd grade level:

    N. Kingstown……81
    S. Kingstown……77

    Based on these numbers, I think it is time that the current math curriculum be addressed before it is too late. Let’s equip our teachers with the right materials to do the job.

    I hope the school committee understands that there are a lot of angry parents out there. I understand many were elected into a hornets nest, but you’re in now and you can force some changes. Therefore, I challenge you to cut the budget even more, address the grade configuration in the elementary schools, fix the 1904 building, push to get this referendum split to give parents a choice, and work to improve our current math curriculum. Where there is a will, there is a way. Let’s not be defeatists.

    As it stands right now, I’m voting “no” on the budget, and “no” on the referendum. You have your work cut out for you to convince me to vote in the affirmative on the referendum.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 10, 2007 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  6. I posted earlier, but it seems my post is floating in cyberspace somewhere. So, I’ll try again.

    I looked at the above NECAP figures this morning. I took out my pen and paper and started to compare Chariho with the other districts. I also explored grade configuration at the other school districts with the above NECAP scores.

    From these scores, Chariho does not score as well as the other districts. So, why is this?

    I again throw out the argument to be debated regarding grade configuration. The grade configuration for all of the schools with the exception of ours and one other is K-5, 6-8, 9-12. And these schools scored better. Hmmm!

    Additionally, the grade 3 scores for math are frightening. If you compare 3rd grade NECAP scores between districts looking at those that are “proficient” and “proficient w/ distinction” as a whole, this is what you find. The percentile figures are: Chariho-59; North Kingstown-81; South Kingstown-77; Westerly-64; Exeter/W. Greenwich-67; and Coventry-73. Hmmm!

    I guess my question is, “Why the disparity?” Is it related to the TERC Math Curriculum?

    At this point, I am driven to do more research because this is getting ridiculous. The more I see, the more I get disgusted. For our tax dollars, our kids deserve better.

    Comment by Lois Buck — April 10, 2007 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  7. Not surprisingly, the second lowest scores in your group is Westerly. Westerly also uses TERC/Investigations curriculum. I believe Coventry does as well.

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 10, 2007 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  8. In researching the math curriculum for the schools listed above, Chariho, Westerly and Coventry definitely use TERC curriculum. I couldn’t find anything on Exeter-West Greenwich, North Kingstown and South Kingstown. There was quite a bit about TERC/Investigations in the other schools.

    I also found information about a TERC-type science curriculum. This included the Kingstowns and Westerly. I’m not sure about Chariho and the others. For teaching young children about science, I am more open to using concepts and abstractions. Initially, science lends itself to this teaching style, and capturing a young child’s attention is more important than teaching them to balance an equation or detemine the atomic number of a compound. In fact, until kids learn math, they can’t do these things.

    Sadly, being successful in high school science requires a thorough knowledge of the mathematical skills no longer being taught in elementary school. Children being taught using TERC/Investigation math curriculum will ultimately fail when their time comes to learn the more rigorous elements of science in high school and middle school.

    “Ridiculous” and “disgusting” are good words for what is currently being taught at Chariho!

    Comment by Curious Resident — April 10, 2007 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  9. […] remember that Westerly beats Chariho on student performance by having a higher percentage of students who scored in the top 25% of the NECAP test and a lower percentage of …  Chariho was also beaten by all of our geographic and demographic peers – Coventry, North […]

    Pingback by Westerly Bond Defeated « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — May 10, 2007 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  10. […] Felkner @ 8:36 am As you read this article, keep in mind that Chariho is equally expensive and while we may score slightly better on the tests, we don’t have anywhere near the demographic charicteristics normally associated […]

    Pingback by EP, we feel your pain « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — May 12, 2007 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  11. […] for “highest performing,” here is a reminder of data covered previously – besides, everyone loves […]

    Pingback by “Misinformation” « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — November 15, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  12. […] A prior analysis of the same material (with NECAP scores so you don’t have to mine them) is here […]

    Pingback by Accountability before bond « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — November 27, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

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