Sandown Scores Beat State,
Mixed Results at Timberlane

SANDOWN – Sandown’s elementary schools, North and Central, have historically performed much better than the state average on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) tests, and in the final year of the program the schools again performed well.

Sandown is one of four towns in the Timberlane Regional School District; the others are Danville, Atkinson and Plaistow. The district’s middle school and high school, which Sandown students attend, have not done as well on the test historically and the results were mixed this year.

According to the federal No Child Left Behind act, 2014 is the year in which the state hoped to have 100 percent of students proficient in the testing areas, but by the tests’ parameters statewide, just 77 percent of students are deemed proficient in reading, 65 percent in mathematics and 58 percent in writing.

The New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) has decided to move away from the NECAP after years of complaints by administrators on the quality of the tests and what the results say about students. NECAP tests are administered to grades three through eight and 11 as part of the DOE’s adherence to No Child Left Behind. The tests aim to provide a way to evaluate school and student performance in mathematics, reading, writing and science according to pre-determined frameworks.

The tests categorize scores in four levels of proficiency: level four, “Proficient with Distinction;” level three, “Proficient;” level two, “Partially Proficient;” and level one, “Substantially Below Proficient.” Schools strive to have as many students as possible in levels three and four.

At Sandown North School, which serves kindergarten through third grade, only the third grade was given the test.

Seventy-four students were administered the reading test. Of those students, 17, or 23 percent, scored in level four; 53, or 72 percent, in level three; 3, or 4 percent, in level two; and 1 or 1 percent in level one.

Thus at North School, 95 percent of third graders scored proficient in reading, compared to 77 percent statewide.

In math, 74 North students took the test, and 22, or 30 percent, scored in level four; 42, or 57 percent, scored in level three; 10, or 14 percent in level two and none in level one.

In math, North School had 87 percent proficiency, compared to 70 percent of third graders statewide.

At Sandown Central, both the fourth and fifth grades took the test.

In reading, 136 students at Central were tested. Thirty-eight, or 28 percent, scored in level four; 77, or 57 percent, scored in level three; 19, or 14 percent, scored in level two; and 2, or 1 percent, in level one.

Broken out by grade for reading, 67 fourth graders took the test. Fourteen scored in level four, 42 in level three, 9 in level three and 2 in level one.

Sixty-nine fifth graders took the test, and 24 scored in level four, 35 in level three, 10 in level two and none in level one.

In reading statewide, 75 percent of fourth graders and 79 percent of fifth graders were deemed proficient, compared to 84 percent of fourth graders and 86 percent of fifth graders at Central.

In math, 29 students, or 21 percent, scored in level four; 75, or 55 percent, in level three; 24, or 18 percent, in level two; and 8, or 6 percent, in level one.

In fourth grade, 67 students took the test. Fifteen scored in level four, 39 in level three, 9 in level two and 4 in level one. In fifth grade, 69 students took the test; 14 scored in level four, 36 in level two, 15 in level three and 4 in level one.

In math statewide, 73 percent of fourth graders and fifth graders were proficient, compared to 80 percent of fourth graders and 72 percent of fifth graders at Central.

The fifth grade was also given the writing test. Sixty-nine students were tested. Nineteen, or 28 percent, scored in level four; 34, or 49 percent in level three; 10, or 14 percent, in level two; and 6, or 9 percent, in level one.

Statewide, 62 percent of fifth graders were deemed proficient, compared to 77 percent at Central.

At Timberlane middle school, which includes all four of the Timberlane towns, sixth through eighth grades were tested in reading and mathematics and just grade eight in writing.

In reading, 916 students were tested, and 18 percent scored in level four, 62 percent in level three, 16 percent in level two and 5 percent in level one.

Statewide 77 percent of sixth through eighth grade students were deemed proficient in reading, compared to Timberlane Middle School’s 80 percent.

In math, 914 students took the test, and 26 percent scored in level four, 45 percent in level three, 17 percent in level two and 13 percent in level one.

Sixty-eight percent of students in sixth through eighth grades were deemed proficient in math statewide, compared to 71 percent at Timberlane Middle School.

At Timberlane Regional High School, only grade 11 was tested. For the reading test, 33 percent scored in level four, 42 percent in level three, 14 percent in level two and 11 percent in level one. Thus, 75 percent were deemed proficient in reading, compared to 77 percent statewide.

In mathematics, 2 percent scored in level four, 31 percent in level three, 31 percent in level two and 36 percent in level one.

Statewide, 36 percent of students were deemed proficient in math, compared to 33 percent at Timberlane High.

In writing in eleventh grade, 8 percent scored in level four, 51 percent in level three, 37 percent in level two and 4 percent in level one.

Statewide 54 percent of eleventh graders were deemed proficient at writing, compared to 59 percent at Timberlane High.

New Hampshire Administrator of the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability Scott Mantie stated, “The test results are only one of multiple measures of performance that are useful in assessing student progress and school performance.”

While students and schools have not reached the goals set out by the program at its start, DOE commissioner Virginia Barry noted that more students across the state are reaching the grade level standards outlined in the program than did at the start of the program.

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