The results of the Connecticut Mastery Tests for the elementary and middle school grades of the are closer to the state average than the results released Tuesday, but the district remains significantly behind in some areas.
Fourth graders showed the most improvement, with an almost across the board improvement over last year’s results. Students meeting or exceeding the goal level in reading rose from 28.2 percent in 2010 to 37.3 percent this year, while those meeting or exceeding the proficiency level rose from 61.6 percent to 62.2 percent. In reading, those meeting goal level rose from 21.4 percent to 29 percent while proficiency rose from 41.4 percent to 48.4 percent. The percentage at goal level for writing rose from 34.8 percent to 37.3 percent, though those meeting proficiency dropped from 75.1 percent to 66.1 percent.
Despite the improvement, the fourth grade scores still fell short of the state average by 20 to 30 percent. Across Connecticut this year, 67.3 percent of fourth graders met or exceeded the goal and 85.2 percent met or exceeded proficiency in math; 62.5 percent met goal and 74.7 percent met proficiency in reading; and 65.5 percent met goal and 85.4 percent met proficiency in writing. The goal level is the state target, while the proficient level identifies districts making adequate progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Between grades four and eight across the state, students were between 85.2 percent and 88.5 percent proficient and 66.8 percent and 72.7 percent goal in math; 74.7 and 86.5 percent proficient and 61.4 percent and 77.8 percent goal in reading; and 79.8 percent and 88 percent proficient and 58.9 percent and 66.8 percent goal in writing.
The state average percentages logged increases on all tests with the exception of declines in fourth graders at proficiency in reading and writing; fifth graders at proficiency in math, proficiency and goal in reading, and goal in writing; sixth graders at goal in writing; seventh graders at goal or proficiency in math and at goal in writing; and eighth graders at goal or proficiency in math and proficiency in science. The decreases range from 0.1 percent to 2.4 percent.
In New London, percentages were down across the board in fifth and seventh grade. In sixth grade, students showed improvement in math and writing. The number of students at or above goal in math climbed from 28.8 percent to 31.9 percent, while the goal proficiency rose from 60.1 percent to 63.1 percent. In writing, goal went from 34.8 percent to 45.5 percent while proficiency went from 72.4 percent to 76.4 percent. Reading percentages declined from 52.4 percent in goal to 43.9 percent, while proficiency went from 67.3 percent to 63.7 percent.
Eighth graders showed improvement in reading, writing, and science and a decline in math. In reading, 43.8 percent were at goal and 61.9 percent were proficient, while in 2010 the levels were 43.7 percent and 58.9 percent, respectively. Writing scores rose from 32.3 percent at goal to 39.9 percent, while those at proficiency went from 54.7 to 69.1 percent. Those at goal level rose from 22.4 percent to 24.7 percent, though proficiency dropped from 44.3 percent to 41 percent. In math, those meeting proficiency dropped from 54.5 percent to 51.1 percent while those at goal dropped 10 percent, from 27.8 percent to 17.8 percent.
Assistant Superintendent Christine Carver and Kate Ericson, a supervisor of instruction and assessment, analyzed the results of both the CAPT and CMT tests and said that while some grade levels are showing strengths, there is a need for serious improvement in a number of areas, particularly related to math skills. At the sophomore level, which takes the CAPT test, they recommend improvement in areas such as geometry, probability and statistics, cell chemistry, interpretation of literature, and essay writing.
Full results for the CMT, as well as the district’s full analysis of the results of the tests, are available in PDF documents included with this article.