Early look at Region 16’s scores pleasing



REGION 16 — For the most part, Region 16 students held their own or outperformed their predecessors on the state’s two standardized tests this year.

“Overall I’m pleased,” said Superintendent of Schools Tim James about the district’s scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test and Connecticut Academic Performance Test. James added, “There’s always room for improvement.”

The results of the CMT, which is administered to students in grades three to eight, and CAPT, which is taken by tenth-graders, were released last week. Students are tested in math, writing and reading. The CAPT also tests students in science.

As far as the CMT is concerned, the scores for Region 16 were either a few percentage points higher or lower than last year at the proficiency level and in the mid-80s percent or better, with one exception.

Grade four reading scores fell by nearly 10 percentage points from 88.4 in 2012 to 78.5 this year.

James said an analysis will be done on each question for the fourth grade reading test to determine what caused the drop and what adjustments officials need to make.

The state average scores on the CMT dropped in every subject for every grade this year. The drop was attributed by state education officials to the implementation of the new Common Core standards, which presents lessons to students in a different format and pace, they said.   

Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the state’s drop in CMT scores isn’t a big surprise. He suspects the “legacy” standardized tests are no longer a good fit as most schools have already begun adopting the new national Common Core curriculum standards.

James said Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, has begun the shift to the Common Core standards with the early focus on language arts and math.

While James was pleased overall with the scores, he particularly pointed to the eighth grade results.

The grade eight scores fell slightly in each subject compared to last year at the proficiency level, but students still scored 91 percent or higher in each subject.

James said the scores for eighth grade show that Region 16 students are ready for high school when they leave middle school.

The district’s CAPT scores increased for every subject and ranged from 90.1 percent on math to 97 percent on writing.   

James attributed the success on the CAPT in part to the culture at Woodland Regional High School. He said teachers, parents and students are all working together to create an excellent learning environment at Woodland.  

Statewide, scores for high school sophomores improved somewhat. Writing and math scores held steady, with slight gains in reading and science.

In the coming weeks, Region 16 administrators will be delving deeper into the results. A complete report on the results will be given to the Board of Education during one of its September meetings, James said.

James added officials will also look at match cohorts, or tracking how the same student performs over time.

“That for me is more telling because we can see what adjustments we have made or need to make,” James 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, including the new Smarter Balance test that will be administered statewide by 2015.

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.

The Republican American contributed to this article.