The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) is a battery of tests administered every year to students in grades three through eight, and then again in grade eleven.
The NECAP tests are aligned with state curricula and the NECAP Grade-Level Expectations. These tests fulfill a number of purposes. They provide an accurate reflection of student knowledge and progress in key subject areas, and they help teachers personalize subsequent instruction. They also generate data about school and district performance, so that administrators can identify areas in need of improvement.
The NECAP program was developed by the state departments of education in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, in collaboration with the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments.
There are four possible content areas on a NECAP test:
The mathematics content area may include questions about numbers and operations; geometry and measurement; functions and algebra; and data, statistics, and probability.
The writing section covers writing conventions, structures of writing, informational writing, narratives, and responses to literary and informational texts.
The science content area may include questions that address life science; physical science; earth science; space science; and scientific inquiry.
The reading section may include questions related to word identification; vocabulary; initial understanding; analysis and interpretation; and comprehension of both literary and informational texts.
The NECAP tests include a variety of question types. There are traditional multiple-choice questions, as well as questions that require a short written answer or an extended response. The science tests for grades four and eight have an especially unique format: they require students to perform short experiments in small groups, and then answer a series of questions based on their observations and collected data.
These tests are not all administered every year. The reading and mathematics tests are administered in grades three through eight, and then again in grade eleven. The writing test is administered in grades five, eight, and eleven. The science test is administered in grades four, eight, and eleven. All of the tests are administered in October, with the exception of the science test, which is administered in May.
There are four scoring levels for students: Proficient with Distinction; Proficient; Partially Proficient, and Substantially Below Proficient.