The CT Dept of Education released results of the spring 2014 administration of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) on Wednesday.
Given that in 2014 the District piloted the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in Language Arts and Mathematics, CMT and CAPT results are available only for Science. District SBA results will be available in the winter.
Superintendent of Schools William S. McKersie said, “This year’s results show continued progress at many levels. They also indicate, however, that we need to increase efforts to support more rigorous science curriculum and instruction in all grades, with special attention to middle schools. We will be looking for comprehensive ways to promote STEM education and other standards-based science instruction. We have great potential to be a model for science education.”
A full analysis of the Science results will be presented at the September 4th Board of Education Work
Session as part of the annual assessment report. Two analytical assumptions must be underscored:
• Multiple measures matter – standardized test scores are important indicators of student outcomes, but must be reviewed with other measures to draw comprehensive conclusions about performance, curriculum or instruction.
• Results on the CMT/CAPT Science Assessments compare different cohorts of students, which is why several year trends are most helpful when analyzing assessment results. A one-year increase or decrease in results may reflect the influence of distinct characteristics of a particular cohort, not just actual changes in student learning and teacher performance. Individual student growth can be analyzed, but it requires comparing specific student results when they were in fifth, eighth and tenth grade.
Regarding this year’s results, two major points should be highlighted (supported by summary tables below):
• Over the last five years, comparing 2009-10 results to those in 2013-14, scores improved in nearly all areas. Particularly notable is the improvement at advanced and goal in grade five (increases of 14 and nine percentage points, respectively) and at advanced in grade ten (increase of six percentage points). The only exceptions are at goal in grade eight (dropped two percentage points) and at proficient in grade ten (dropped one percentage point).
• It is instructive to consider two year patterns as an “early warning” on possible emerging trends.
We have one area of concern with a two-year review: Grade eight experienced a second straight year of decline at the advanced, goal and proficient levels.
The report presented on September 4th will disaggregate results by school and student subgroups. The analysis will consider implications for curriculum renewal, instruction, assessment and professional learning.
Summary tables are provided below listing aggregate results by grade and performance level. The tables also include an unduplicated count of students with need factors.
CMT and CAPT Assessment Performance Levels
CMT and CAPT are state-mandated programs that assess and report the achievement of students in grades five, eight and ten in Science. Student scores are categorized by performance level: Advanced, Goal, and Proficient:
• Students scoring at the advanced level are performing at the top of all students across the state.
• Students scoring at the goal level possess the knowledge, ability, and skill necessary to successfully perform the tasks and assignments appropriately expected of a student with minimal teacher assistance
• Students who score at the proficient level are able to successfully participate in their regular grade appropriate course work.
• Students scoring below the proficient level require intervention to accelerate their academic progress.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
The State Department of Education is in the process of considering adoption of and the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards, with decisions expected in late 2014. The Greenwich Public Schools is already reviewing the NGSS to identify areas of important shifts in Science curriculum and instruction. It is expected that the State will continue to administer the CMT/CAPT to assess student performance in Science for Grades 5, 8, and 10 in Spring 2015.