While fourth graders from Eldredge and Hanaford continue to rank among the top schools in the state on the science standardized tests known as the NECAPs, scores from spring 2012 dipped slightly from the previous year.
Eldredge scored 78.7 percent proficiency in 2012, just down from 79.3 percent in 2011. Hanaford scored 75 percent proficiency in 2012, from 81.3 percent in 2011. The top elementary school, Block Island, scored 83 percent proficiency, and three out of the four elementary schools in Smithfield also scored between 80 and 82 percent proficiency.
For Dom Giusti, principal of Eldredge Elementary, the scores remain a positive.
"Four years ago, when the science NECAPS started, we were in the 50s. When you look at the state report … Eldredge actually made what they consider significant progress over the course of the four years," Giusti said Monday.
He credits the method of teaching science used by East Greenwich and all of the other top performing schools.
"Part of it is we have the inquiry science model ... where the kids have science kits. It’s inquiry-based, they’re using the equipment every day, they’re doing experimentation every day," Giusti said. "It’s real science and it’s real-life situations."
He continued: "The other piece in all this I think that’s separating the top schools from all the other schools is we’ve started writing in science.... [Teachers] make sure the kids understand the difference between something that’s narrative – fictional versus nonfictional. 'How do you write like a scientist?'"
"I was pleased with how we're trending," said Supt. Victor Mercurio. He said it can be hard to determine what slight changes. "We want to look at some longer-term data. The progression is not always linear from year to year."
To read about the NECAP science results for Cole Middle School and EGHS, click here. A printout of results for all the elementary schools is attached at right, along with reports on the individual schools.