Is Raimondo Delaying Education Test Results Until After Election?

Saturday, November 03, 2018

 

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Governor Gina Raimondo

The State of Rhode Island will not be releasing the results of the new Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) until following the November election -- after having released the statewide public school assessment results in August of 2016 and 2017.

The Rhode Island Departement of Education (RIDE) had previously utilized the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test for the last three years, before moving to the RICAS model for the 2017-2018 school year. 

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown recently came under fire after their Department of Education said it would be delaying the release of their most recent school performance ratings until after the November election - which resulted in the data being ultimately made public on October 24 following the public and political pressure. 

"I have no knowledge or reason to believe that the test scores were not released for political reasons. Having said this I have not seen an explanation or cogent reason why the State has not already made the scores public," said former Rhode Island Director of Administration Gary Sasse of the RICAS data not being made public yet. "If the test results are disappointing the public may question why the results were not released before the election and this could impact RIDE's credibility."

Latest for Testing in RI -- and Reaction

"We’re in a transition year to the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System, or RICAS. The 2017-2018 school year was the first year of administration, so additional analysis was needed," said RIDE spokesperson Meg Geoghegan. "We’re also finishing a new School and District Report Card platform under ESSA, which will need to incorporate the RICAS data."

"As far as analyses, a direct year-over-year comparison is not possible when you change assessments, so we wanted to calculate growth scores for students so that families could better understand progress, separate from the test," said Geoghegan. In the most recently reported years, the was a huge disparity in results. 

At Providence's Hope High School proficiencies are 1 percent in Algebra 1, 3 percent in English and 5 percent in geometry. To contrast, at Barrington High School, 79 percent are proficient at English, 54 percent in Algebra, and 93 percent at geometry.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung said that he believed Raimondo was deliberately delaying the numbers. 

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"She’s hiding those numbers — I’m hearing she’s got them and not releasing them until after the election," said Cranston Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung. "You can’t get a true comparison releasing the SAT numbers."

On October 25, the College Board released the latest performance numbers for Rhode Island, which showed that while more Rhode Island students took the test last year test scores went down under Raimondo.

"The fact that, while results from Rhode Island’s standardized test scores are available, yet not immediately released for public scrutiny, can mean only one thing, the results are bad for Governor Gina Raimondo’s political image.  For no reason, should those results be delayed until after the general election.  If the results reflected measurable improvements in education and student learning statewide, Gina Raimondo would be the first to be out front touting it as one of her own accomplishments as a leader," said independent candidate for Governor Joe Trillo. 

Both Raimondo's campaign and her office refused repeated requests for comment.

"This is most definitely not the case, and she knows it, so she is using the Rhode Island Department of Education as a campaign tool, and hiding the results until after the election.  This is dirty politics, at its worst.  This type of political play has to be frustrating and infuriating for parents, teachers, and administrators, and I hope they express that frustration and desire for a transparent governor, like me, at the polls on November 6th.  Raimondo’s message to all is that Rhode Islanders don’t deserve the data they are literally paying for with their hard earned tax dollars, until her political agenda is satisfied."

PARCC to RICAS

While RIDE released the PARCC data in August of 2016 and 2017, Rhode Island was the last state to release PARCC data in 2015 -- which turned out to have significant flaws.

"The state of Rhode Island spent nearly $2 million to administer the PARCC test, which appears to have at least one reporting error that could impact the overall results," wrote GoLocal in November 25 in "RI's Flawed PARCC Test Cost Millions."

The cost to administer the tests was $24.97 per student, according to the Rhode Island Department of Education, for a total of at least $1.8 million for the approximately 75,000 students tested— and results showed that only a third of Rhode Island students in grades 3-10 met expectations for both math and English. 

As GoLocal reported in December 2015, "RIDE Updates PARCC Results After GoLocal Investigation Found Errors."

In May 2017, a former Massachusetts education official warned Rhode Islanders that the switch from PARCC testing to mirror the Massachusetts MCAS model raised questions about the lack of rigor of the standardized tests - as well as how the policy decision was made. 

 
 

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