Naugatuck’s scores fall as curriculum shifts

Tuttle-Building

NAUGATUCK — The borough’s scores on the state’s standardized tests dipped compared to last year.

The results of the Connecticut Mastery Test, which is administered to students in grades three to eight, and Connecticut Academic Performance Test, which is taken by tenth-graders, were released last week. Students are tested in math, writing and reading. The fifth- and eighth-graders taking the CMT, as well as students taking the CAPT, are also tested in science.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini said the drop in scores at the proficiency level this year were due in large part to the district shifting its focus.

“The general overview is the scores were not as high as we would like. But we understand that is largely a result of a shift in curriculum to be aligned with Common Core,” Montini said.  

The Common Core State Standards are a new method of testing that all school districts will be required to switch to at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Montini said the new tests, which the schools have begun teaching towards, focus on less skills, but go deeper into those skills.

“Many of the skills that were tested on the CMT are no longer taught,” Montini said. “The state assessment does not match what were doing in classroom.”

Montini pointed out that CMT scores have fallen across the entire state. He said that the change to Common Core is affecting the entire state, not just the borough.

The subject that students struggled with the most was math, which saw a decrease in every grade except third.

Math proficiency saw a drop of 10.1 points in third grade, the highest drop of any subject in any grade of the CMT.

Montini reiterated the large drop in math is primarily due to the fact that they are teaching different sets of math skills in the class from what is being asked on the CMT. The current skills being taught correlate with what the students will be asked on the new common core test.

Although many of the scores fell, Montini said there were a few bright spots in the report. He specifically pointed to the sixth and seventh grade classes, which scored higher in reading and writing than last year when they were in fifth and sixth grades respectively.

“There are a number of bright spots,” Montini said. “We’re happy with those.”

The borough’s results on the CAPT fell across the board.

The scores fell an average of 7.1 points at the proficiency level, with the largest drop being 14.9 points in math.

These scores are not in line with the state average scores, which remained fairly consistent.

Montini said the scores decreased for the same reason the CMT scores did; the district is changing over to a new method of testing.

High schools across Connecticut will be required to switch to the Smarter Balance Assessments, which are part of the Common Core of Standards, starting in the 2014-15 school year, he said.

Montini said the district will have the option to either begin the new Smarter Balance Assessments this year or to continue with the current test for one more year.

The district will come to a decision on whether to switch in the fall, Montini said.

In the past, the results of the CMT and CAPT would have been used to measure the performance of schools under the federal No Child Left Behind act. The state has received a waiver from the act as it develops its own accountability system.

Since the state has a waiver from NCLB, schools that didn’t meet the federal benchmarks this year don’t face any repercussions. 

To view full results on the CMT and CAPT, visit www.ctreports.com.