Rhode Island has more work to do to improve public schools. That’s according to State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, responding to test scores from PARCC, the standardized test Rhode Island is now using to measure student achievement.
PARCC was designed to measure progress on the Common Core standards, which are now guiding teachers in the state's public schools.
Results from the first year of testing showed just a quarter of Rhode Island students met expectations for Math, and a little more than a third met expectations in English.
Wagner said the scores reflect the challenge ahead.
“These results are a baseline, a starting point for the work we have ahead of us to truly help all of our students be ready for our futures, so they absolutely should be a call to action,” said Wagner.
Wagner emphasized that the scores should not be taken as a failure on the part of students, teachers or the test itself. He is recommending that the state put more focus on teacher support and principals. He also recommended "re-imagining" high school to make it more engaging for students.
"We have a lot of work to do particularly in math, and that has to start with focusing on the content knowledge of our teachers and really supporting them to have the knowledge necessary to implement the standards," Wagner said. "We're also going to have strong and sustained conversations about how our high schools should change."