Test scores reflect school districts’ efforts
Published 8:43 am, Thursday, September 3, 2015
Surprises were few and far between last week for New Milford area school districts when results arrived from the recent Smarter Balance Assessment testing.
Most prominently, math scores were low across the board.
Fewer than 40 percent of students statewide got a passing grade in math on a new test linked to the Common Core curriculum standards.
Statewide, 39 percent met or exceeded proficiency in math testing.
Region 12 fared best among area school districts as 52.4 percent of its students met or exceeded the proficiency goal, compared to 39.9 percent for New Milford and 33 for Region 6 students.
The news for English language arts was better.
For the state, 55 percent of the students met or exceeded the testing’s proficiency standards.
In New Milford, 52.8 percent met or exceeded, while 63 reached that standard in Region 6 and 73 percent in Region 12.
“These scores show we are really rocking it up here,” said Pat Cosentino, Region 12 superintendent of schools, “and doing a great job.”
“We spent the last couple of years concentrating on English language arts and aligning them with Common Core,” she said. “It’s all about the curriculum and we’ve got to work on math.”
That, she said, is now happening, with an emphasis on algebra starting this year in the seventh grade.
Ed Drapp, superintendent of schools for Region 6, which includes Warren, said “We know that this data establishes a baseline for future years. I am confident that our results will continue to improve.
“One assessment does not define who we are as a district and we continue to have high expectations for all of our students.”
Josh Smith, New Milford’s assistant superintendent of schools, agrees with Drapp.
“The results of the SBAC are something to learn from,” Smith said. “We’re going to take some time and talk to other districts. This was the first year and we have a universal measurement now.”
Smith praised teachers in the New Milford district for the work they’ve done during the past school year to “implement and reflect on the new math program.”
“I think our math test scores could have been lower if we had not implemented the new math program last year,” Smith said. “While we don’t want to shoot for 40 percent, it’s a starting point that aligns with the state averages.”
“It’s going to take a couple of years,” he concluded, “to see students’ mastery in the new math to show up in this new assessment phase.”
Drapp noted Region 6’s results in the early grades reflect positively on the region’s efforts.
English language arts scores for grades three through five were 82 percent and 78 percent meeting or exceeding proficiency, while math scores for grades three and four were 79 percent and 56 percent.