Data shows Nashua School District spends less for lower results

NASHUA – The Nashua school district spends less on students than the state average and has comparatively lower test results, according to data from the 2016/2017 school year published by the New Hampshire Department of Education Wednesday.

According to the Nashua district profile, the district spends an average of $12,693 per pupil for preschool through grade 12.

The districts spends $13,068 on elementary school students compared to $15,398 for the state, $12,892 on middle school students

versus $14,741 and for high school, Nashua spends $12,022 per student, whereas the state average is $15,538.

According to the assessment test results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Nashua students also are generally at a lower achievement level than the state average.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has four categories of rating proficiency, which it refers to as “levels” one through four.

“Students performing at Levels 3 and 4 are considered on track to demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary for college and career readiness,” according to the SBAC website. The levels have also been referred to as “novice, developing, proficient and advanced” instead of numerically.

The NH Department of Education report shows that 25 percent of Nashua students are at the Level 1 or “novice” level in English Language Arts and 31 percent in Mathematics. The state averages are 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

The Level 2 averages are closer together, at 24 percent for Nashua and 23 percent for the state in English, and 29 percent for the district and 31 perfect statewide in Math.

Nashua has an average of 50 percent of students for Levels 3 and 4 combined in English and 40 percent for combined Levels 3 and 4 in math. The state combined average are 59 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

Also highlighted in the DOE report were the percentage of students in grades three through eight and grade 11 who were considered “proficient” in reading and mathematics. For the most part, numbers hovered around 50 percent of students as proficient.

However, only 32 percent of sixth grade students and 31 percent of eighth graders were proficient in math.

The trend continued in 11th grade with only 35 percent, but also in the same grade, 60 percent of students were proficient in reading, the highest result listed in the data.

The release of this information, which came one month earlier than last year, is part of the department’s “aim of transparency,” the Director of the Division of Program Support Caitlin Davis said in an email. “Our goal is to provide timely and relevant information in support of education in New Hampshire,” she added.

A more comprehensive look at the data with how Nashua compares to other school districts in the area, will appear in Friday’s edition of The Telegraph.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or