- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Nearly three-fifths of New Hampshire’s students are on track for eventual college and career readiness when it comes to language arts, but fewer than half meet grade-level performance standards in math, according to the first results from the state’s first Common Core-aligned assessment tests.

The New Hampshire State Board of Education endorsed the federal Common Core standards for math and English in 2010, and tests aligned to those standards - called the Smarter Balanced Assessment - were administered for the first time last spring to students in grades 3-8 and 11. Education officials say the results establish a new baseline for academic progress and should not be compared with results from previous tests.

“Participating Smarter Balanced states agree that while no single assessment can give a complete picture of student achievement, annual assessments - which combined with student grades and teacher reports - can provide important information to families about their child’s progress and areas for improvement, and help guide teachers in daily instructional planning,” said Education Commissioner Virginia Barry.

In language arts, 58 percent of students statewide met or exceeded the standards. Fifth- and seventh-graders scored the highest, with 63 percent meeting or exceeding the standards, while third-graders fared the worst, with only 55 percent scoring in the top two levels.

In math, 46 percent of students statewide were deemed on track. The grade-level results ranged from 37 percent of 11th graders meeting or exceeding the standards to 52 percent of third-graders reaching the same levels.

New Hampshire students generally performed better than their peers elsewhere in the country when compared to a 2014 Smarter Balanced national field test.

Local school boards are not required to adopt the Common Core standards, and reaction to them has run the gamut: resistance in some communities, readily adopting them or using them as a springboard to develop their own.

Hundreds of students in several of the state’s largest communities refused to take the tests, and lawmakers have taken up numerous bills aimed at ending or scaling back the state’s involvement. Several bills were rejected by the Legislature in 2014, and Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed another that passed this year.

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