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New London CAPT Scores Show Decline

Sophomores lag behind state average in test results

10th graders showed a significant drop in the number of students meeting both the proficiency and goal levels of the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, according to test results released Tuesday by the state.

The largest decreases were in the reading and writing scores. In 2010, 55 percent of sophomores taking the test scored at proficiency level or higher, while this year only 37.4 percent met that level. In writing, 67 percent made proficiency in 2010 while 52.5 percent made proficiency this year.

In math and science results, scores dropped 7 percent to 8 percent. A total of 50.5 percent of sophomores were at or above math proficiency in 2010, while 43.4 percent met the level this year. Science went from 53.8 percent at proficiency level to 45.9 percent.

The percentage of students making goal level on the test also dropped. These went from 19 percent to 15.5 percent for math, 21.8 percent to 15.9 percent for science, 15.7 percent to 8.9 percent for reading, and 26.1 percent to 15.4 percent for writing.

Each of the scores lags well behind the state average. Across Connecticut, 80.3 percent of sophomores were at or above proficiency for math, while 49.6 percent were at or above goal.

In science, 81.7 percent met proficiency and 47.2 percent goal; in reading, 81.9 percent met proficiency and 44.8 percent goal; and in writing, 88.6 percent met proficiency and 61.3 percent goal.

These represented slight improvements across the board with the exception of reading, which declined from a statewide average of 82.9 percent at proficiency and 45.9 percent at goal.

In New London, the decreases were the first since 2007 in math and reading after incremental increases in proficiency in both tests. Science and writing scores have been more inconsistent, with science proficiency increasing from 47.8 percent in 2009 to 56.3 percent in 2010 and writing proficiency seesawing since 2007, with a low of 52.3 percent in 2007 and a high of a high of 75.2 percent the next year.

“I am very, very upset with those scores,” Board of Education member Barbara Major said of New London’s most recent performance. “I don’t see any improvement.”

At a special meeting of the board last week, Major for Superintendent Nicholas Fischer after saying she wanted to see the outcome of the CAPT results first. She said she would like to see the district eliminate half of the administrative positions in order to hire more teachers to create smaller class sizes.

“There has to be more accountability to this school system and work to get these scores up,” she said.

Fischer said the CAPT, along with the Connecticut Mastery Test for younger students, are part of the No Child Left Behind Act’s goal to raise test scores to 100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014. Fischer said the district must strive to be consistent in its performance and focus on a number of areas, such as student comprehension skills, interpreting documents, and vocabulary.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in these areas,” he said.

Board member Ronna Stuller said she was uncertain how much the data reflected the quality of the school system.

“Obviously how you’re teaching and what the curriculum is will have an impact, but you’re going to have a totally different group of kids,” she said.

According to the 2009 CMT scores for New London, which would have represented the same class that that took the CAPT this year, students were consistent or showed some improvement in math and science proficiency.

The class scored 19.5 percent goal and 44 percent proficiency on the math test and 16.9 percent goal and 40.8 percent proficiency on the science test. The class showed a higher aptitude on the CMT tests for reading and writing, with 28.5 percent making goal and 43.5 percent making proficiency in reading and 32.5 percent making goal and 57 percent making proficiency in writing.

Stuller said she was also worried that the results could signify that nearly two-thirds of the class that takes the CAPT in two years could be struggling to meet the checklist for earning a diploma.

“My first thought was, ‘How are we going to have the resources to actually implement the literacy requirement?’” she said.

The , which will go into effect with the incoming freshman class at , means students must show a 10th grade level of literacy before graduation. The requirement can be met in a number of different ways, and one of them is achievement on the CAPT test.

Jean Doyle July 12, 2011 at 11:22 PM
I wish people would realize that each year these scores are announced they are for entirely different sets of students. It is not the same set that took them the previous year so to say that they declined makes people think a crisis is occurring. This group just wasn't as academically good as last year's group. Same thing goes for Mastery Tests.
Benjamin Greiner July 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM
"The literacy requirement, which will go into effect with the incoming freshman class at New London High School, means students must show a 10th grade level of literacy before graduation." Sigh.... In order to graduate from 12th grade you need to be able to function at the 10th grade level. What a sad standard. And to think, many of the high school graduates don't even function at an 8th grade level! Perhaps that's a point to ponder and correct.
Daria Novak July 17, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Has anyone noticed that ever since we established the Dept of Education in Washington, our children's educational scores have declined, the competitiveness of our workers compared to the rest of the world has declined, but the money (our tax money) we put into federal education funds has gone up! When government isn't working, we should fix it or get rid of it. When I was teaching at a CT university I was asked (told) to include "Writing Across the Curriculum" in my political science classes because our CT high school graduates can't write well enough to complete a freshman term paper. The students were not prepared for freshman classes! Some couldn't write a 2-page paper without many serious errors in their writing. It is unacceptable that our children are receiving social engineering in the classroom but don't possess a basic education in math, reading and writing skills. When I am in Congress in DC I will work hard to take the federal government out of education because it gets a failing grade of "F" and is condemning our children to a 2nd rate life in a nation that should be first-rate. We need to put education (and our tax dollars) back in the hands of state and local governments (and parents) to improve the outcome for our children. We can fix what is broken. Are you with me?
constance stripling May 21, 2012 at 03:30 PM
No....plagerism follows one and negates trust. Politicians currently running for office should expect exposure when they cheat. How did cheating go over when you taught at the university level? Expulsion is an option as students are faced with the consequences of their actions. The same harsh punishment might be in order for you? Then again, the rules change, the playing field is built on sand, and politicians are exempt from basic fair play. So once again, NO, I'm not with you Ms. Novack. BTW, you have not provided one tangible plan as to how you will attain your goals if elected. Just another sound bite with no teeth.

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