Shelton student’s overall performance on state standardized tests this year shows growth and a move in the right direction, according to Superintendent Freeman Burr.
Results of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT), administered to grades 3 to 8, and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT), given to high school sophomores, were announced recently and discussed by the Board of Education at its July 25 meeting.
The CMT tests in areas of math, reading, writing and science in grades 5 and 8. The CAPT evaluates math, reading, science and writing. Burr presented the results by grade and by cohort, which measures the same group of students from year to year. The results are broken down by what percentage of students were at or above state goal and proficiency targets.
“We are happy to report growth in 16 out of 24 areas tested by the CMT and CAPT,” Burr said. “We’re pleased overall.”
Grades 3, 4 and 7 students at or above goal went up across the board. Grade 5 students showed increases in reading and writing but a slight decline of 1.6 points in math and 0.6 in science.
High school sophomores showed an across the board increase in the percentage of students scoring at or above goal.
But the results were not without some spots that need work, particularly based on overall CMT results of sixth and eighth grade students in the district.
The percentage of grade 6 students scoring at or above goal in math went down to 83.9%, which is a 2.3-point decrease from last year. About 86.4% of grade 6 students met goal in reading, which is a 2.8-point drop.
Math scores were significantly down in grade 8, with 72.8% of students meeting or going above goal — a drop of 7.4 points. Grade 8 also saw a 1.5 drop in reading.
The district’s Board of Education also set its own testing targets, which focused on improving five areas of math and five areas in reading for the “free and reduced lunch” student population. Several of the targets were exceeded.
“We have exceeded our target in eight of 10 areas, with the exception of fifth and sixth grade math, where we fell short by 2.8 and 3.3 points, respectively,” according to the data provided by Burr.
The board’s goal for the entire district were also met in most areas, except grade 8 math.
The cohort data is perhaps more telling, according to Burr, since it shows linear progression of the same students from one grade to another.
“Grade level reports are really comparing apples to oranges,” Burr said.
In measuring students from one grade to another, results show that 9 of 12 areas measured showed improvement.
The cohort data shows that grade 4 students improved significantly since they took the test as grade 3 students. The percentage at or above goal went up by 15.7 points in math, 11.7 in reading and 9.9 in writing. Grade 5 students also improved across the board.
While this year’s grade 6 students didn’t score as well as last year’s, more grade 6 students were at or above goal, compared to their test results as grade 5 students. The grade six students at or above goal went up 17.5 points in reading and up about 5 points in both writing and math.
Grade 7 students at or above goal went down in math and writing but up slightly in reading.
Shelton High School CAPT results went up in all areas. The number of sophomores at or above goal went up 5.8 points in math, 8.5 points in reading, 16.1 points in writing and 5.2 points in science.
“I’m very pleased with the high school results,” Burr said. “This is the first time in a few years we’ve seen significant growth in math.”
The superintendent plans to give a more detailed presentation on the CAPT and CMT results at the board’s regular meeting in August. The board will discuss the results and goals for the new year, during its Board of Education retreat Aug. 7 and 8.
“The overall performance is something the entire district — teachers, tutors, administrators, students — should be proud of, and we consider it a celebration,” Burr said.
Board Chairman Win Oppel expressed his satisfaction with the overall results and the schools stepping up to meet the Board of Education’s district goals for the standardized tests.
“It’s nice to see some really positive noise come out of this,” Oppel said. “We pushed them with some goals and the administrators stepped up to the plate.
“We have some spots we need to work on but that’s expected when your have 24 goals and not just one.”