The share of the city’s 10th graders who mastered basic skills on annual statewide test soared this year.
"In Bristol, we have fantastic results across the board," said Susan Moreau, deputy superintendent. "I did the happy dance this morning."
The percentage of the city’s sophomores who scored at or above the statewide goal soared in three of the four areas tested: math, science and writing. They held their own in reading.
Perhaps the most startling results came among the 132 students who qualify for free or reduced price school lunches – an indicator of poverty.
The percentage of students from low-income families who met the state goals rose about 40 percent in both math and writing. They also posted solid gains in science and reading, the test scores show.
The scores as a whole showed that the goals set by the district and the strategies in place to meet them paid off, according to Moreau.
"This is the proof of the pudding," said Moreau
Moreau said 90 percent of the Bristol students scored proficient in reading, 91 percent in writing – tallies she found thrilling.
"They're just really phenomenal results," said Moreau. "To have gone over 90 percent in two areas is very exciting to us. That tells us that even our most needy learners are growing and becoming proficient."
The district showed a huge growth over last year's 10th grade students, said Moreau, who scored 87 percent in reading and writing.
"Statewide results are up somewhat as well," said Moreau, "but not to the extent that ours are up."
Across Connecticut, 41,700 students took the CAPT, said Moreau. In Bristol, there were 609 high school sophomores who took it. That’s 30 fewer students than took last year’s exam.
The high scores this year are a tribute to administrators, teachers and students, said Moreau.
Unless students are willing to put in the effort needed to learn and score high, the district won't see these kinds of results.
The test measures skills that will be needed for life, said Moreau.
"If you can't read and you can't write and you can't compute," Moreau said, the future economic outlook isn't as rosy.
The district spends a lot of time helping teachers learn new ways of reaching students. Teachers meet to collaborate with others teaching the same classes, or the same grade level, Moreau said.
If one teaching method doesn't work, Moreau said, a teacher will then have "a bag of tricks to try to teach that student in other ways."
In Bristol, about 10 to 12 percent of the students are in special education, according to Moreau. Of those students, Moreau said, just 1 or 2 percent take something different than the CAPT.
Federal law mandates that the special education students take the same tests as the rest of the class, Moreau said.
"No Child Left Behind doesn't distinguish," Moreau said. "By 2014, all students in all U.S. schools are to be 100 percent proficient in reading and mathematics."
She said more than half the special education students are now proficient in math, but scores in other areas aren't as good."Nationally, No Child Left Behind has focused attention on student achievement," said Moreau. "There are positives."
Bristol sophomores meeting state CAPT goals
2007 – 51.5
2008 – 61.9
2007 – 40.8
2008 – 52.3
2007 – 50.2
2008 – 50.2
2007 – 50.2
2008 – 63.4
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