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2012 TEST SCORES: NEW HAVEN GAINS OUTPACE STATE, ACHIEVEMENT GAP NARROWS Achievement Gap Narrows Turnaround Schools Post Impressive Gains Brennan/Rogers Leads District as Most Improved in Second Year of Turnaround Schools Show Sustained Progress, but District Not Satisfied Until Achievement Gap is Closed
NEW HAVEN-- Recently released Connecticut Mastery Test and Connecticut Academic Performance Test results for 2012 show New Haven students outpacing statewide gains across most subject areas and grades, continuing to close the achievement gap between New Haven students and the rest of the state. In a testament to the success of New Haven School Change, New Haven scores have improved over the past several years at rates nearly double that of the state, although progress remains to meet the accelerated pace of School Change goals. “New Haven scores continue to increase at rates twice that of the state and that is something to be proud of. We are closing the achievement gap, and moving in a positive direction. Still, our growth is not nearly good enough. We need to move from incremental growth to exponential growth,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo. Across all grades and subjects on the CMT, 66.5 percent of students tested at a proficient level, compared to 64.6 percent last year and 56.8 percent in 2008. Across all grades and subjects, 42.2 percent of students scored at goal, compared to 40.2 percent last year and 32.4 percent in 2008. Across all subjects on the CAPT, 59.6 percent of students scored at proficient or above compared to 61.9 percent last year and 57.4 percent in 2008. In CAPT goal, 23.4 percent scored at goal or above compared to 21.1 percent last year and 18.6 percent in 2008.
This year’s test results show New Haven is continuing to close the achievement gap with the state, improving at rates nearly double that of the state. Across all subjects and grades on the CMT, New Haven students increased by approximately two percent from this year to last year, while the state increased only one percent. Since 2008, New Haven students across all subjects increased by 9.7 percent in proficiency, compared to 4.2 percent statewide. On CAPT proficiency, New Haven students have increased 2.2 percent since 2008, compared to a decrease of 0.6 percent statewide. At goal on CAPT, New Haven students increased 4.8 percent since 2008, compared to only 1.8 percent statewide. Overall, 21 out of 29 preK-8 schools improved in overall proficiency and 22 out of 29 improved in overall goal from 2011 to 2012, building on overall upward trends since the launch of the School Change initiative. PreK-8 schools continued on a solid growth trajectory in 2012. Reading, writing and science scores continue to improve in long-term trends. While math scores dropped one percent in proficiency and goal in 2012, scores have gained steadily over a five year period. Eighth graders showed impressive gains across all four subject areas, indicating a readiness for high school and beyond. Double-digit gains in writing in particular followed implementation of a new writing curriculum.
Third grade CMT scores improved across the board following concerted efforts over the past two years to address early literacy in grades one and two. Since 2010, third grade reading scores have increased from 41.3 percent proficient to 51.4 percent proficient, and from 24.9 percent at goal to 32.6 percent at goal. Eighth graders also posted strong gains across all subjects, indicating a readiness to succeed in high school.
Because the CMT is given every year to students in grades three through eight, gains are also visible by tracking the progress of the same students over a period of several years. Reading, writing, and math scores from 3rd graders in 2007 to 8th graders in 2012 reflect sustained gains by students on both proficient and goal levels as they moved from grade to grade. For example, 38.8 percent of 3rd grade students were reading at proficient in 2007, and five years later 74.9 percent of 8th grade students were reading at proficient, a gain of 36.1 percent as compared a 16.9 percent gain for the state.
In a promising trend, four turnaround schools, Barnard, Brennan/Rogers, Wexler-Grant, and Hill Central ranked among the top ten most improved schools district wide. Overall percentages of students reaching proficiency across all subjects at Brennan/Rogers increased by 11.1 percent, with 7.2 percent gains at Barnard, 7.4 percent gains at Wexler-Grant and 3.7 percent gains at Hill Central. “There were some excellent pockets of achievement this year, particularly our turnaround schools. Brennan/Rogers is an example of what students can achieve in a learning environment with strong school leadership, professional support, collaboration, and consistently high expectations. Now, we need to see this success replicated in every school,” said Mayo. While overall district results continue to move in a positive direction, these latest results underscore the need for persistent efforts to improve the quality of education at every New Haven public school. English Language Learners, Special Education students, and transient student populations present persistent challenges as the district seeks to improve the academic success of every student. The strong performance of most of the turnaround schools underscores the success of that central tenant of School Change, and underscores the need to continue to identify additional turnaround opportunities. "Our School Change Initiative’s bedrock principle is to collaboratively make decisions that are in the best interest of students. The hard work and cooperation of our teachers and administrators, working side by side, has led to significant progress at not only our turnaround schools but many other schools as well, from Tier 1 through Tier 3. I am especially pleased with our five-year cohort scores which clearly reveal that we show tremendous progress when our students stay with us for sustained, consistent instruction over a period of time,” said David Cicarella, President of the New Haven Federation of Teachers.
The substantial test score gains at Brennan/Rogers follow equally impressive gains in school Learning Environment Survey results. Brennan/Rogers had the highest survey participation rate district wide, with 96 percent of parents responding and 100 percent of students, teachers and staff. Overall, survey respondents reported improved academic expectations, engagement, safety, respect and collaboration at the school, with respondents in aggregate giving “highly satisfied” remarks across the board. Since its designation as a turnaround school two years ago, academic achievement at Brennan/Rogers has improved substantially. This year, 83.2 percent of sixth graders scored proficient across all subjects and 68.3 percent reached goal, compared to only 32.4 percent at proficient and 12.1 percent at goal in 2009. “The achievements on this year's CMT was the result of positive and focused efforts amongst the teachers and staff at Brennan/Rogers towards setting high expectations for themselves and students; towards maintaining a continuous eye on analyzing data to address the needs of each students; and to towards creating a school climate that is deliberate in engaging students as active/responsible participants in their learning,” said Brennan/Rogers Principal Karen Lott. “Next year, the turnaround work at Brennan/Rogers will continue on its strategic course towards creating and solidifying an environment that fosters excellence in teaching and learning while inspiring students to have a love for learning,” she said. In its first year of a turnaround, scores at Clemente Leadership Academy declined. However, positive gains in Learning Environment Survey results indicate that the school is well-positioned to follow Brennan’s lead and improve academically next year. High school scores were more mixed. Sound School and New Haven Academy improved in all four subject areas in both goal and proficiency and High School in the Community improved in three out of four subject areas. Still, Wilbur Cross and Hillhouse posted disappointing declines despite sustained efforts to improve school climate, student support, and academic expectations, indicating a need to focus additional efforts on the lowest performing students. “I am not satisfied with the CAPT scores at our comprehensive high schools. Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross have made strong improvements in climate this past year, particularly as they worked to form small supportive learning communities. Next year we need to make sure those improvements in climate result in better academic performance,” said Mayo.
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