We’re going to have to wait until after the general election for the latest round of standardized test scores from the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS).
The state Department of Education said this week that it is planning to unveil RICAS scores from the 2021-2022 school year in mid-November, a slight delay compared to last year’s release in late October.
Victor Morente, a spokesman for the department, said test results will be later this year because RIDE is planning a comprehensive rollout that will give students easier access to their results and help families to better understand how students performed on the exam, which tests English language arts and math skills in all public school students in grades three through eight.
But waiting until mid-November to release the scores is especially notable this year because it means they will come after an increasingly tense election that has seen Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ashley Kalus criticize virtually every decision made by the incumbent governor, Democrat Dan McKee.
Kalus is pitching herself as the education governor – she has even adopted Democrat Helena Foulkes’ primary pledge to not seek reelection if students don’t return to their pre-pandemic proficiency rates – and the release of test scores ahead of the election would give her another chance to highlight her vision for schools in the state.
By comparison, the last round of RICAS scores – which showed just 33 percent of students statewide were proficient in English language arts and 20 percent were doing math at grade level – were released Oct. 28, 2021, and school district leaders had the results even earlier than that.
Massachusetts, which uses a similar version of the exam, released its results last week, and scores across the board haven’t quite rebounded to their pre-pandemic levels.
In Rhode Island, Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green has been urging state leaders and superintendents to act with urgency to help students catch up from the learning loss that has come over the last three school years as a result of COVID-19. The state saw an increase in student activity during the summer, but the RICAS results are expected to show that many students are still struggling as a result of the disruption.
This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.