Main Page

My Story



Warwick Beacon Candidate Forum

Special Education

Parent Communication Advisory Committee


Contact Me










































































































































































































































UPDATE: Candidate Forum Question 1

Here is my initial thought on question #1.
I will be waiting for input via my email and may choose to alter my answer as information comes in to me.

The Warwick Beacon: Question 1.

1. The state Board of Regents is examining a change in high school graduation requirements that would equally weight grades earned while in high school with completion of a senior project, known as graduation by proficiency and performance in a one-day state-run test. Do you feel this is a fair measure for evaluating a student’s performance?

I am against the idea of a one day state-run test that is factored in as part of a student’s grade as it is not a fair measure of a student’s performance. I do not believe that the senior project needs to be factored into their grade but I believe that every senior should be required to complete to a satisfactory level a senior project.

I like the idea of a senior project because it gives students the opportunity to show what skills they have mastered in school. I would want to make sure that the students had access to mentors to help them through the task and guide them properly. I believe that when a student accomplishes a task as academically challenging as the project they will look back with pride in their accomplishment and know that they are ready to move on and tackle other difficulties in life, whether it is college or the work force.

I have built my own syllabi, I have weighted grades in my classes and I have found that more often than not, you will always have a student that can do well throughout the term and they have a bad day on "big test" day and it kills their grade. It is also not good when you have a student that is not motivated throughout the year but does really well on test day, and I find that this actually happens often. It is very devastating to the student academically, emotionally and socially. Other students often become aware of the failure even if it is confidential or private. It is not motivating and many of the non-performing students feel they want to just quit. There are some that are ready to quit before the test and I know some in my program have actually quit rather than take a “big exam”.

Approximately 57 Students dropped out of Pilgrim High School after not being able to complete the senior project and this does not take into account the state run one day testing.
Here are 2007 stats for student graduation rates in Warwick from RI kids count 2008:

% of adults that complete high school or higher = 85%

Number of students enrolled =11,236

% of students taking SAT = 53%

2007 graduation rate = 89%

The SAT Exam

We currently have 53% of the students taking a one day exam that gives a reasonable testing evaluation of the students to evaluate them and give them a rating of where they fit compared to their peers and only 53% are attempting to take the test. It is the SAT.
The SAT test is taken by 5955 of the 11236 students. This means 5280 voluntarily do not take the test that they are preparing for their entire high school career. I would like to find out why they are not taking it. Is it test anxiety? Will these students also choose not to take the test by proficiency?

What if only half of the students who are not taking the SAT decide that they also don't want to take the Grading by Proficiency test? Half of 5280 is 2640. This is the number I say will choose not to take the grade by proficiency test, they might choose to fail rather than take it.

And if those students are not able to graduate then our graduation rate drops. We had 1236 students not graduating before now raise that another 2640 to 3876 not graduating.

We currently have a graduation rate now of 89%. 10000 students of 11236 students are graduating right now. We would have 7360 students graduating, but 3876 will not go on to college. We would have a 65.5% graduation rate.

Warwick pays more for students that do not complete high school

And from RI Kids Count, "Adults without a high school diploma in Rhode Island are three and a half times as likely to be unemployed as those who receive a bachelor's degree". So in the end, we end up paying anyway, possible more. Don't forget there is a face to go with every one of these numbers.

Warwick tax revenue is lower, we are losing out on 3.9 million dollars

Here is the tax revenue consequences related to having students not complete high school.

Fiscal consequences of dropping out of high school:

$5371 in tax revenue is received by students who finish high school or GED

$2201 in tax revenue is received by students who do not finish high school or receive a GED.

This is a difference of $3170 per student. If my calculated number of 3876 is any where near accurate then the city would lose $12,286,920 each year. Not taking into account the number of students who would choose not to graduate because of the proficiency test, we currently have 1236 students not finishing HS and are losing approximately $3,918,120 now.

Fiscal Consequences of Dropping Out of High School in Rhode Island (2002-2004 Averages) (PDF)

My Alternative Solution!!!

I would rather find out why on the NECAP that Warwick scores a 64% proficiency in Reading for our high schools, 18% proficiency for math and 36% proficiency for writing. I would rather take money and effort and put it into finding ways for them to comprehend the information better. I believe that Proficiency and understanding the material and being able to show that you have mastered something other than regurgitating information is very important but to put everything into one day is wrong.

If it is going to be done it should be done right. These students should have the ability to test themselves, have mock proficiency tests and reviews. They must be allowed to find where their strengths and weaknesses are so they can improve. I might also offer it as an option not graded so students can attempt it and some will find that it is a good tool to get them ready for college or work. Word will spread through out the student population that it should be attempted because it can help. They can note on their college applications that they attempted the test. This test is a moral booster now. It is one more thing that can set one student ahead of another, it will create a bit of competition which will promote wanting to learn more to get ahead of the "other guy". To develop this testing by proficiency properly takes time and money which the school department currently does not have.

Here are other important questions to consider.

What is the number of students that are going on to college for Warwick Schools?

What is the number of students that leave to start work?

What is the number of students who leave school and don’t go to college, get a GED or work?

What is the number of students in Warwick that are leaving and getting their GED?

What grade level are they leaving in?

Are students that get their GED also required to also pass a proficiency test before going to college or work?

Couldn’t students leave in their senior year, get their GED and then go on to college or work without taking a proficiently test?

Did Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or closer to home…Scott Avedisian take a proficiency test?

Also, consider the 2008 results for grading by proficiency for our high school students. An excerpt from Warwick School Committee Minutes Meeting of April 8, 2008 (PDF)

“In is unreasonable to expect that students in the class of 2008 have all had similar experiences in terms of meeting the academic expectations in the mission.

Numbers as of April 8, 2008:

Pilgrim High School

297 seniors

28 missing SP research paper packets 35 students with fieldwork hours

10 no SP research paper or fieldwork hours


as of right now we are missing

26 research papers

46 missing fieldwork hours

Toll Gate

Fieldwork -247 students

206 students with completed fieldwork

25 students with fieldwork extensions

13 students with fieldwork issues (currently being worked on)

3 students have NO fieldwork (also have academic issues)

Research Paper - 247 students

116 passed

114 Not Yets

10 Extensions

7 NO papers (have academic issues - 6 of these 7 also have fieldwork issues) “

As a final note, the Board of Regents is planning to meet regarding the Grading by Proficiency on September 3rd, 2008. If you would like to comment or share your feelings on whether this one day state run test and senior project should be weighted for the grade then you should plan on attending the meeting. The Public workshop is being held at

255 Westminster St., Providence, Room 501 at 4 p.m.

The Projo did a story titled, “Proposed diploma rules jar parents” on 8/25/2008 by Jennifer D. Jordan. Here is the link, please read the article.

Proposed diploma rules jar parents

Thank you for your time,

Patrick Maloney