School students in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont have been participating in the New England Common Assessment Program (often abbreviated NE-CAP). Maine joined the assessment program in 2009. The NE-CAP is a series of reading, writing, mathematics and science achievement tests, administered annually, which were developed in response to the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. It is collaborative project of the New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont departments of education, with assistance from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments. Measured Progress, an assessment contractor from Dover, New Hampshire, coordinates production, administration, scoring and reporting.
The NECAP tests measure students’ academic knowledge and skills relative to Grade Expectations which were created by teams of teachers representing the three states. Student scores are reported at four levels of academic achievement; Proficient with Distinction, Proficient, Partially Proficient and Substantially Below Proficient. Reading and math are assessed in grades 3-8 and 11, writing is assessed in grades 5, 8 and 11, and science is assessed in grades 4, 8 and 11. The reading, math and writing tests are administered each year in October. The science tests are administered in May. In Maine students in grades 5 and 8 take the science MEA (Maine Education Assesment.) Students in Maine do not participate in the science NECAP.
The states supporting this initiative are planning on phasing over to the newer Common Core State Standards Initiative by 2014.