Students’ scores in English outpace math


The scores of Naugatuck and Region 16 students on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) paralleled trends across the state: students continue to perform better at English than math.

The state Department of Education last month released preliminary results for the 2016-17 SBAC, which is administered to students in grades three through eight.

Statewide, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the achievement standard in English dropped from 55.6 percent in 2015-16 to 54.2 percent in 2016-17. Math scores statewide are lower, though the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard increased slightly from 44 percent in 2015-16 to 45.6 in 2016-17, according to information released by the state Department of Education.

Last school year was the third year the SBAC was used to measure student achievement. The test replaced the Connecticut Mastery Test.

Locally, 47.8 percent of Naugatuck students met or exceeded the standard in English last school year, down from 48.2 percent in 2015-16. Naugatuck students made a leap in math, though, as 41.2 percent met or exceeded the benchmark in 2016-17 compared to 32.1 percent the year before.

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke highlighted the spike in math scores at last month’s Board of Education meeting. The district put an emphasis on improving math scores as part of a strategic plan.

The spike in math scores was welcome, though the district overall lags behind the statewide scores in both subjects.

“We’re closing the gap, we’re getting closer every year,” said Locke last week about catching up to the state average.

Locke said everything the district works toward is focused on improving student outcomes.

The state hasn’t released the data yet on the growth made by matched cohorts, the same students measured over time. Western Elementary School received recognition for the growth it made in 2015-16, said Locke, adding she’s eager to see this year’s growth scores.

“I’m excited the see the growth in year two,” she said.

Students in Region 16, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, scored above the state average in English and math. They didn’t make the type of gains Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin was hoping for, though.

“I think we’re still making growth,” Yamin said. “I don’t think our growth is as significant as I’d like.”

In Region 16, 65.5 percent of students met or exceeded the standard in English in 2016-17, up a bit from 64.5 percent in 2015-16. In math, 58 percent of students hit or scored above the standard last school year, up 53.8 from the year before.

Yamin said the discrepancy between English and math scores occurs across the state. He said the district is looking to increase gains in math and will be starting to implement a math task force’s recommendations, including a math lab at Woodland Regional High School, this coming school year.