FARMINGTON — Two Regional School Unit 9 elementary principals presented Maine Education Assessment and eMPowerME data reviews for grades 3 to 5 to the Board of Directors on Tuesday, Dec. 11. eMPowerME evaluates proficiency in English/Language Arts, literacy and mathematics for students in grades 3 through 8. MEA for science is administered to students in grades 5, 8, and the third year of high school.

Nichole Goodspeed, principal of Cascade Brook School in Farmington, presented data for grades 3 to 5 in English/Language Arts and mathematics. She said in 2015-16, slightly more than 40 percent of regular education students in third grade tested at or above state standards. The same group scored about the same in 2016-17. As fifth grade students last year, closer to 50 percent of the group scored at or above the standard, she said.

“It is our hope that the longer they stay with us the better they do,” Goodspeed said. “This data reflects that.”

“This is significant because this is what the state has been using to see if we are making progress,” she added. “This is the first year we got specific results from the state so we are really able to look at our data.”

In reviewing the data in mathematics, Goodspeed noted there was a slight dip in the percentage of last year’s fifth grade students who scored at or above standards. “We are discussing those scores right now to figure out where our weak areas are and which areas we are strong in,” she said.

“There has been a trend of a gap between boys and girls in math. Nationally, the data shows girls are catching up. Our data shows that our girls are actually ahead of our boys in math, which is awesome,” Goodspeed pointed out.

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Overall, students at Cascade Brook School scored below the state average but Goodspeed pointed out the gap decreased as the grade level increased. “Again, as they stay with us they tend to improve their scores,” she added.

Lisa Sinclair, principal of Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon said, “When we look at data, we look at the different subgroups of students. CCHS really not have much discrepancy as far as gender differences or ethnicity. One thing we noticed was a direct correlation between economically disadvantaged students and student achievement scores.”

In 2017-18, nearly 54 percent of the third grade class received free and reduced lunch which is a marker for the economically disadvantaged subgroup. The class scored slightly lower than the state average in ELA and math, Sinclair said.

Just over 31 percent of last year’s fifth grade class qualified for free and reduced lunch. The class scored well above the state average for ELA and math, she said.

Overall, CCHS students scored better than the state average in ELA, math and science. One-hundred percent of fifth grade students scored at or above state average, Sinclair said.

The math and ELA tests were newer tests with a high rigor said Superintendent Tina Meserve. “The science test has been around for a long time,” she added. “There could be a difference in rigor. We still have 100 percent there so that is something to celebrate.”

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