RICAS RESULTS: Student scores on the rise

Warwick math, ELA rankings improved from last year


The release of the 2023 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) scores saw improvements for Warwick to the tune of  a 4.3 percent improvement in math and a 2.1 percent improvement in English Language Arts (ELA) scores district-wide.

Overall, Warwick students are 26.9 percent proficient in math and 31 percent proficient in ELA. These numbers place Warwick at 24th among all public school districts in the state for math scores and 28th for ELA scores.

The math numbers mark an improvement not just over last year, but over 2019’s, when Warwick had 26.5 percent proficiency throughout the district.

Superintendent Lynn Dambruch credited the city’s math scores to math interventionists at every elementary school to help students and higher-quality curriculum materials.

“I attribute them to having a full-time math interventionist in each elementary school,” Dambruch said. “Also, we spent time purchasing new curriculum resources that are high quality, such as iReady for math and Wit and Wisdom for ELA.”

Norwood Elementary School boasted the biggest increase in math, improving from 18 percent proficient to 38.5 percent proficient, and also boasted an increase in ELA proficiency of 12.7 percentage points, numbers that Dambruch called “amazing.” The biggest gains in ELA were had by Wyman Elementary School, which improved from 24.7 percent proficient to 41.7 percent, an increase of 17.

Other schools with increases in proficiency by more than 10 percent include Greenwood, which jumped 10.6 percentage points in math and Oakland Beach, which jumped 13.7 percentage points in ELA. Park, Hoxsie, Robertson, Holliman, Vets and Winman all saw increases in both ELA and math.

Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Lisa Schultz said Warwick students’ growth in proficiency was at and above levels that the School Department hoped for..

“We’re at the same level the state is for ELA growth- at 2 percent- but we beat the state growth in math, which was 3 percent,” Schultz said. “That’s what we want- we want to see the growth.”

Schultz also noted Winman’s 9 percent increase in ELA proficiency as particularly special, saying that it’s much harder to see a big increase in a middle school than an elementary school.

On the other end of the spectrum, Cedar Hill, Lippitt and Sherman saw declines in both math and ELA scores, and Scott and Warwick Neck saw decreases in ELA scores. Scott and Lippitt were the only schools with proficiency declines of 4 percent, both in ELA, with Scott dropping from 57.3 percent proficient to 42.5 percent proficient and Lippitt falling from 30.8 to 16.4 percent proficient.

Schultz and Dambruch said that the variance in ELA proficiency increases and decreases between different schools can be attributed to a new, more rigorous ELA curriculum. Next year, they said, they will be looking for more consistent ELA increases across the board, as well as a rebound in proficiency for the schools that lost some.

Statewide, the average for ELA proficiency is 33.1 percent, and math proficiency sits at 29.6 percent, according to the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE).

“Rhode Island is committed to improving student outcomes and the latest RICAS results show that with our focus on accelerating learning statewide, we are on the right track,” Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angélica Infante-Green said. “With a second consecutive year of significant growth in math and an increase in ELA proficiency, we’re seeing momentum as we approach pre-pandemic levels of achievement and participation.”

A statement released by State Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) and Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna Gallo (D-Cranston) emphasized, though, that continued improvement was necessary in the future.

“While improvement over the past few years should be highlighted and celebrated, we must also recognize the sobering fact that having only one out of every three students being proficient in their studies is unacceptable and there is still far more work to be done,” the statement read. “Our children’s educational success is directly tied to the future economic success of our state and although these scores are certainly a positive step in the right direction, they still show that we must further increase our focus and efforts to ensure our children are educated and ready for adult life.”

According to Dambruch, the School Department isn’t looking to rest on the laurels of their gains. With the release of this year’s scores, though, Dambruch credited Warwick’s staff members for moving overall scores in the district in the right direction.

“Working as a team to improve student proficiency has really paid off,” Dambruch said. “It’s a team approach across the district.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) released the final results of the 2023 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS). A presentation of the results is available here. Look for more details in next week's edition.

students, scores, improvement


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