Scores show gains for Naugatuck, Region 16 students

Results from last spring’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests showed Naugatuck and Region 16 students in grades three to eight are making gains overall in math and English language arts.

Statewide, more than 55 percent of students achieved a score on the ELA portion of the SBAC test that indicated they had met or exceeded the proficiency standard. Meanwhile, on the math test, the total percentage of students who had met the benchmark statewide was just under 47 percent.

Among districts around Greater Waterbury, Naugatuck Public Schools showed some of the strongest gains in math and ELA. More than 52 percent of borough students achieved the proficiency standard in ELA, while nearly 49 percent of students achieved benchmarks in math.

The nearly 49 percent of borough students achieving proficiency in math is an improvement over the prior year’s rate of 41.2 percent, and the 32.1 percent of students who had met or exceeded expectations on tests administered during the 2015-16 school year.

For Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke, the results for third grade students on math were some of the most promising, as 65 percent scored as having met or exceeded expectations. That percentage bested the percentage of third-graders — 53.8 percent — statewide to achieve that level.

“It just speaks to the work of our teachers at the K-to-2 level,” Locke said, attributing the achievement to what she called “targeted instruction and professional learning.

“The district also invested in math coaches,” Locke said. “All of our K-to-8 schools have math coaches.”

The more than 52 percent of borough students that hit the mark in ELA is up from nearly 48 percent in the 2016-17 school year.

In Region 16, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect, students continued to make strides overall.

In ELA, 73.5 percent of Region 16 students met or exceeded the proficiency standard, up from 65.5 percent in 2016-17. Nearly 61 percent of students met or exceeded the benchmark in math. In 2016-17, 58 percent of students hit or exceeded the mark in math.

The percentage of students in the region meeting or exceeding the standard overall has increased in both subjects every year since the state started using scores from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests in 2015-16 to measure achievement.

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin attributed the continuous increases to consistency, clarity of expectations, and stability.

Yamin has been superintendent for five years. The top administrators at each school have been the same during Yamin’s tenure with the exception of Long River Middle School Principal Derek Muharem, who is in his third year in the district.

“It’s one vision, one mission, and the clarity of what our expectations are,” Yamin said.

While he’s pleased with the district’s growth overall, Yamin said the scores also show some struggles when students advance from fifth to sixth grade.

“I think we have to look at our transition from fifth to sixth grade,” Yamin said.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported 54.3 percent of third grade students in Naugatuck met or exceeded the target in math. Sixty-five percent of third-graders met or exceeded the standard.