July 15, 2008

Educators do 'the happy dance' over test scores

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

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

wow, a 50% pass rate.

Let's jump for joy!

Look out Harvard, here we comes!

Anonymous said...

Here's a comparison to cogitate Bristolites:


Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that Simsbury was the only town that made the highest scores list for all categories.

I would like to know what they are doing right!

Anonymous said...

This is almost impossible. Beware of the fudge factor. Something doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

Well, there was some improvement.

Nevertheless, approximately 50 to 60 % of students did NOT meet the state CAPT goals.

The performance translates to D's and F's!

When 40 to 50% of test takers are failing to meet CAPT goals, that's just pathetic.

How many are failing to meet the goals at the 12th grade level?

They don't dare test them, do they?

Anonymous said...

Don't you Bristol haters ever take a vacation?

Anonymous said...

Getting better is better than getting worse.

Lets look at the positive and do even better next year!

Anonymous said...

2:34 AM

Thank you for sharing that with us. I had a feeling there was something the BOE and Sue Moreau wasn't telling us. I wouldn't jump for joy yet. It sounds like the kids that would have passed the tests anyway are scoring higher which is great. But, there are more and more kids NOT passing. As a community, we are in trouble. I just wish the BOE would tell both sides of the story. This is not a vindication of teaching methods by any stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous said...

thank God for Art Ward.

Anonymous said...

Pray tell what did Ward have to do with this.

He cut education all that he could, didn't he?

Lets see what the results are next year.

Anonymous said...

Scores are up across the state. So whatever happened has little to do with Bristol. Maybe its a fluke. Then again maybe the tests or the scoring was adjusted to produce better outcomes.

Anonymous said...

This is more than just pathetic. We spend $100 million annually to educate our children in Bristol and better than 30% drop out of school before graduation, 50 to 60% fail to meet the CAPT goals, and the administrators are dancing in the hallways because 40 to 50% were able to pass????? There is something wrong with this picture. Maybe it is not a matter of throwing more money after bad, maybe it is an issue of holding superintendents, administrators, and teachers accountable for results. Can you imagine what would happen to anyone in business or corporate if they failed to meet 50 to 60% of their annual objectives? If they were dancing --- it would be in the street.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, school districts with socio-economic characteristics similar to Bristol are wondering what we're doing to out-perform them. One student's ceiling is another student's floor; same as it always was.