State releases SAT scores

Across the state, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the achievement standard on the SAT climbed slightly in math and English language arts. The same can be said, for the most part, for high school students in Naugatuck and Region 16.

The state Department of Education released the results of the revised SAT administered in the spring to 11th-graders. The test marked the second year the SAT was used by the state to measure student achievement.

Statewide, the percentage of students at least meeting the standard in English increased 0.4 percentage points to 65.4. In math, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard increased 2 percentage points to 41.3.

Students are scored from 200 to 800 on the SAT in both subjects. Students must score at least a 480 in English and 530 in math to meet the achievement standard. The average scores statewide, which went up a bit, were 542 in English and 507 in math.

Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, did significantly better than the state average in English with 77.4 percent at least meeting the standard. That percentage is up 0.6 percentage points from the previous year. In math, the district was slightly better than the state with 41.7 percent at least hitting the standard, up 2.1 percentage points.

“I think we have realized some of the innovative strategies in professional development and aligning of curriculum over the last three years in our English language arts scores,” Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said.

Though Region 16’s math scores increased, Yamin said the increase wasn’t has significant as he’d like. The district is moving forward with implementing initiatives developed by a math task force to improve math scores, he said. The initiatives include implementing best practices observed in other districts and a math lab at Woodland Regional High School.

The percentage of Naugatuck students at least hitting the standard in math went up 2.4 percentage points to 22.2. In English, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard dropped 2.1 percentage points to 45.7.

Naugatuck is considered an Alliance District, one of the 30 lowest-performing districts, and came in below the statewide scores. Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said the district is working to look beyond the publicized scores to see how the assessments can be used for instructional purposes to grow student achievement.

“We are more concerned with student growth than average test scores,” Locke said.

The district is working to revise a strategic plan, which has been in place for three years, for the next three years. Officials previously credited parts of the plan for helping to improve math scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) — a state-wide test administered to students in grades three through eight.

Locke said Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam is working with teachers and staff to identify ways to improve and monitor student growth, including in math. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the high school are required to take the PSAT, which is used by the district to measure their growth over time, Locke said.

As part of the plan, Locke said the district is setting benchmarks to meet on the next year’s SAT of 54 percent meeting the standard in English and 30 percent in math.

“The high school administration has been working with the strategic plan with a team of teachers to identify ways the strategic improvement plan can impact student growth on the suite of college-bound assessments, including the SAT,” Locke said.