NORWALK, Conn. – The scores are in, and, for new Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera, the glass is half full.
The state released the 2013 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) and Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT) results Tuesday, showing improvements at the 10th-grade (CAPT) level and some slippage – with an asterisk – at the elementary level.
The results show Norwalk performed well among the state’s eight largest cities — cities population 70,000 and up — posting the highest or second-highest scores (sometimes by a 10th of a percentage point) in all but two of the 22 categories in the CMT and CAPT combined, both in scoring at or above goal in in percentage of students at proficiency or above. Among the cities, Norwalk posted 12 firsts, eight seconds and two thirds in both metrics.
The eight largest cities are Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury and New Britain.
In a Wednesday press release, Rivera said students were at state level or better in some grades and disciplines.
Figures show, however, that Norwalk, while posting some better-than-statewide gains, still scored below state averages in most areas.
According to the release, state CAPT results were “generally positive,” while CMT results were down. But, Rivera noted, results were a marked improvement over the baseline year of 2006.
State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor attributed the decline in CMT scores to the transition to Common Core State Standards.
“It is increasingly apparent that our legacy tests are out of sync with the new common core standards,” Pryor said in a press release.
Rivera had similar thoughts about the CMT scores, taking a “this, too, shall pass” approach.
“I am not surprised by the performance of Norwalk’s students on the CMT tests, given Norwalk’s transition to Common Core State Standards that began more than a year ago,” he said. “I believe that it is important for parents to note that the CMT tests will cease to exist at the end of this school year … and the entire state will transition to new assessments that will be aligned with Common Core Standards. The results of these new assessments (in 2015) will become a new baseline for us with which to track our progress as a school district.”
Rivera listed bullet points to highlight some areas of Norwalk’s CMT results:
• Compared to the state, a higher percentage of Norwalk students reached proficiency and goal at grades 3 and 4.
• The percentage of grade 7 students reaching proficiency exceeded grade 7 statewide results.
• Compared to 2012, there were increases in the percent of students reaching goal at grades 4 and 8.
• Compared to the state, a higher percent of Norwalk students reached proficiency and goal at grade 7.
• Grade 8 students were on par with statewide proficiency results for the first time.
• Compared to 2012, there were increases in the percent of students reaching goal at grades 4, 7, and 8.
• Compared to the state, a higher percent of Norwalk students reached proficiency and goal at grade 4.
• The percent of grade 5 students reaching proficiency exceeded statewide results.
• Compared to 2012, there were increases in the percent of students reaching goal at grades 4, 5, 7, and 8.
• Grades 4 and 8 made the most progress on the 2013 CMT in all content areas. Students continued with the large gains they made on the 2012 CMT when tested at grades 3 and 7.
• Norwalk’s 2013 reading results exceeded state results at some grades for the first time.
• The number of grades that exceeded state results in mathematics increased, compared to prior CMT results.
• The largest gap between Norwalk’s goal results and state goal results was at grade 6 in all content areas.
Rivera said he was “pleased to see gains on the state CAPT tests, especially in science and math.”
“Norwalk’s results are generally ‘on par’ with results across the state and as reported by the commissioner,” he said. “However, there are some distinctions that should be noted regarding Norwalk’s performance when compared to the state.”:
• Compared to 2012, the percent of students reaching the mathematics goal increased 9.9 percentage points, from 32.5 percent to 42.4 percent. In 2013, the state gained 3.3 points. Statewide, 52.6 percent of students were at or above goal.
• Compared to 2012, the percent of students reaching the science goal increased 3.1 percentage points, from 32.4 percent to 35.5 percent. In 2013, the state gained 1.7 points. Statewide, 49 percent were at or above goal.
• Compared to 2012, the percent of students reaching the reading goal remained about the same, moving from 36.8 percent to 36.7 percent. Statewide, 48.5 percent were at or above goal.
• Compared to 2012, the percent of students reaching the writing goal remained about the same, 52.5 percent to 52.7 percent. The state dropped 1 point to 62.1 percent.
• Norwalk’s 2013 CAPT results show progress in mathematics and science.
• State results exceed Norwalk results in all content areas.
• The smallest gap between Norwalk and the state is in writing, both at proficiency and goal.
Rivera said in the release that his office is continuing to analyze the subgroup data.
For a town-by-town breakdown of CAPT scores, click here.
For a town-by-town breakdown of CMT scores, click here.