Naugatuck, Region 16 officials size up SAT scores

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Scores from the 2018 SAT show Naugatuck students continue to make incremental growth, while students in Region 16 took a leap forward in math and remained basically stagnant in English language arts.

The state Department of Education last week released the results of the SAT administered in March and April to high school juniors. The average statewide scores in math and English dipped compared to 2017, as did the percentage of students at or above the target score.

The average English score dropped to 516 and the average math score fell to 503, a drop of eight points and four points respectively. A little more than 62 percent of juniors met or exceeded the target score of 480 in English, 65.4 percent did so in 2017. In math, the benchmark is 530 and 40.3 percent of juniors met or exceeded it this year, down slightly from the 41.3 percent that did so last year.

Naugatuck High School juniors made gains in both subjects but their average scores came in below the state average. Naugatuck juniors scored an average of 483 in English, a four-point increase, and an average of 456 in math, up one point from 2017.

The percentage of Naugatuck juniors hitting or exceeding the target in English increased from 45.7 percent in 2017 to 52.8 percent in 2018 and dropped from 22.2 percent to 21.6 percent in math.

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke pointed to the growth made by Naugatuck students over the last three years. This was the third year the state administered the SAT to 11th-graders to measure achievement for high schools.

Naugatuck’s average English score is up 10 points from 2016 — the first year the SAT was administered in schools statewide — and up 8 points in math. That growth has outpaced the state. The state’s average English score is down four points from 2016, while the average math score is one point higher than 2016.

With more students taking the SAT now that it’s administered in schools statewide, Locke said it’s a good sign that Naugatuck 11th-graders continue to improve and have outpaced state gains the past three years.

In Region 16, which is comprised of Beacon Falls and Prospect, Woodland Regional High School juniors’ average math score jumped 18 points from 2017 to 523 this year, and nearly 48 percent of students hit or exceeded the target in math. The score is 22 points higher than the average score in 2016.

Region 16 Director of Curriculum Michele Raynor said officials are pleased with the math results. While the district is well above the state average in math, she added the score is still below the state benchmark of 530.

“It’s something that we want to continue to address,” she said.

Across the state, math scores have lagged behind English results. To help address math scores, Woodland implemented a math lab to provide students extra help in the subject.

“We’ve really been focused on math, so I’m really proud of that,” said Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin about the jump in math scores.

Woodland’s average English score dropped a point from 2017 to 539 this year, and 75.5 percent of juniors met or exceeded the target score.

Along with the math lab, Region 16 implemented SAT prep courses at Woodland. At Naugatuck High, freshmen and sophomores take a PSAT geared to their grade level, and juniors take the PSAT as well before taking the SAT.

Locke said the PSAT provides a vertical progression for students and officials constantly analyze data to gauge how students are performing.

Locke described the SAT scores as data that provides the chance to validate and question the work being done in the district.

“It’s adds a layer to what we’re already looking at every day,” Locke said.

While Naugatuck’s average math score on the SAT is below the state average, Locke said the juniors who took the test this year have shown growth from when they were in eighth grade and took the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is administered to students in grades three through eight.

“Our teachers, throughout the district, are working hard to make sure that each and every student is making growth and becoming competent, and I’m proud of the work our teachers are doing,” she said.