Board of Ed chairwoman defends NECAP

Most adults couldn't pass the test that Rhode Island high school students need to pass to get their diplomas, according to the student group Providence Student Union.

The students administered a sample of the standardized New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, test to 50 professional adults over the weekend.

Darren Fleury of Central High School reported the results Tuesday.

"In the end, 60 percent of these accomplished professionals scored at a level that would put them at risk of not graduating," Fleury said.

While education officials insist there be some standards for a high school diploma, they said the test will not be the only determining factor for getting a diploma and that any one person who doesn't pass now, will get another chance after plenty of preparation.

"As long as they do better than what they did the first time and show improvement, then they graduate, said Eva Mancuso, chairwoman of the state Board of Education.

But Flo Duperry, whose honor roll, A-student daughter received an unacceptable score on her math NECAP said even having to take the test again, has put pressure on her daughter.

"She was devastated. This is a young woman very well rounded in sports, in music, who is currently looking at colleges. It's my goal in life is to send her to secondary education and to hear at this point that she's not going to graduate is devastating, just devastating," Duperry said.

Mancuso said that while the test may not be perfect, and changes are coming, it is a starting point to make a Rhode Island high school diploma represent some level of learning.

"This test is not the be-all, end-all of every test in the world. But it is something. It's the beginning for us to have a diploma that means something to the general public as it relates to math," Mancuso said.