East Lyme education officials happy with student test scores

East Lyme - Districtwide performance on state standardized tests remained strong last spring, according to a Board of Education presentation Monday.

Performance on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test for 10th-graders and on the Connecticut Mastery Test in science represented the district's strongest scores in several years.

Overall, in comparing the scores of the same groups of students, also known as cohorts, over several years, Superintendent of Schools James Lombardo said their performance on the CMT "tends to be positive trend."

For instance, 92.3 percent of eighth-graders reached the state's goal in reading last year. In contrast, 69.5 percent of those same students reached the state goal when they were in third grade and 80.6 percent reached it in fourth grade. Third grade tends to be when students perform their lowest scores, because it is the first time they are introduced to the CMT, Lombardo explained.

On the CAPT, 76.7 percent of 10th-graders reached the state goal in math in 2013, compared to 66.3 percent in 2012. For science, 74.4 percent met the goal, while 67.3 percent did last year. For reading, 71.2 percent of students met the goal, while 67.2 percent did last year. For writing, 84.1 percent met the goal this year, while 81.8 percent did last year.

"The students have done incredibly well," said high school Principal Michael Susi. He praised the students in the cohort, as well as the teachers. East Lyme received the top ranking in science, the second in math and the third in reading within its District Reference Group (DRG) of similar school districts, he said.

CMT results for the district remained steady. The district's third-grade scores leveled off, while there was a statewide drop in third-grade scores. Lombardo said state officials conjectured the drop was because districts were already implementing the new state standards before the new test.

In third grade, 78.9 percent of students reached goal in math in 2013, compared to 78.9 percent in 2012. In reading, 71.9 percent of students reached goal, compared to 72 percent the previous year. In writing, 77.1 percent reached goal this year, while 78.7 percent had reached that measure the previous year.

Data showed changes in comparing the same grade level from year to year. For instance, in 2012, 92 percent of sixth-graders reached the state's goal in math, 91 percent reached the goal in reading and 86.2 percent reached the goal in writing. In 2013, 81.2 percent of sixth-graders reached goal in math, 85.5 percent reached goal in reading and 78.8 percent reached goal in writing.

Last year was the last time for students to take the CMT and CAPT. This spring, the district will be "field testing" a new state test aligned with the Common Core State Standards, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The results next fall will have some pertinent information, he said, but it will largely serve as a "test of the system."

The 2014-15 school year will be the benchmark year for the Smarter Balanced Assessment scores.

k.drelich@theday.com

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