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New London — As a reward for their goal-shattering performance on statewide standardized tests last school year, middle- and high-school students along with their families were treated to breakfast Tuesday morning.
At the second annual Breakfast of Champions, students who are now in eighth and 11th grades and tested at or above "goal" level on the Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test last March were recognized.
"Proficient" is the standard measure of whether schools are making adequate progress as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law. "Goal" is a higher standard set by the state of Connecticut.
Students broke the school district's 5 percent improvement goal in reading and math, and African-American students, English language learners and those who receive free or reduced lunch outperformed the state average.
Across the state, 59.7 percent of African-American students scored as proficient or above, whereas in New London, 81.3 percent of African-Americans achieved proficiency — nearly equal to the 82.1 percent of white students who reached that level. That group also outperformed their peers statewide by 20 percent, high school Principal Tommy Thompson said.
The performance of students who receive free or reduced lunch at the high school was 10 percent better than the state average for that group. The school's population of English language learners also outperformed their peers in the state in every area tested, and their writing scores were 14 percent better than the state average.
Kaitlyn Dean said receiving extra help to prepare for the CAPT at the high school was "pretty easy to find" if a student wanted it.
"Teachers were available after school if you needed help on anything," Dean said.
From the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, every English, math and science class focused on CAPT. Practice was embedded in students' elective classes in the form of writing reflections. Students were asked to answer questions on their class work, quizzes and tests the way they would on the CAPT, and teachers scored students' answers with CAPT standards.
"It was a little bit of everything," Dean said of the practice in the classroom. "Just knowing that when you're going to class, you're going to learn how to answer the questions."