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Monroe Students' Scores Yield Mixed Results

Results for the CMT, CAPT, AP, SAT and ACT are all in.

Monroe students excelled in the Connecticut Mastery Test with the percentage meeting proficiency in the low to high 90's; and the mean score for graduates taking the SAT was 543 in math — the highest in Masuk High School history. But not all standardized test results show a rosy picture. For instance, 10th graders struggled with the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT), which included ranking dead last among towns in their District Reference Group in science.

Students' performance in standardized tests yielded a mix of good news and bad news. Assistant Supt. of Schools John Battista and Sheila Casinelli, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, shared it all in a presentation to the Board of Education on Monday night.

After the presentation, Supt. of Schools James Agostine said, "We have some things to be proud of tonight, particularly with the CMT scores, college placements and the number of students being accepted to most competitive colleges."

On the areas for improvement, Agostine said, "We have a lot of work to do to get there, but its work we relish and are getting started on."

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Casinelli said administrators always examine the data while working on curriculum as part of the plan to improve student performance.

Results for the CMT, CAPT, AP, SAT and ACT will be available on Monroe Public Schools' website Tuesday morning.

Excelling on the CMT

While percentages of students in grades 3-8 showed proficiency in the CMT in the 90's, those performing "At or Above Goal" were mostly in the 80's. Battista said educators are not satisfied with the latter result.

One notable exception in the "At or Above Goal" category included a 94.4% in reading for eighth graders.

The CMT tests students in reading, writing, math and science. In most cases, Monroe grades showed steady improvement over the years in meeting goal. Classes also compared well among their DRG.

Among the highlights, Monroe fourth graders were number one in mathematics among students from the other 19 school districts in their DRG with 92.4% meeting goal. And eighth grade ranked fourth in science with 87.6 percent meeting goal.

There was bad news for sixth graders when compared to their counterparts on the CMT. The grade was near the bottom of the DRG in reading, writing and math — including third-to-the-last in reading.

The CAPT

Tenth graders performed poorly overall on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) and administrators said that particular class of students has struggled on standardized tests over the years.

While 92.3 percent were At or Above Proficiency in math, that average was lower than every Monroe class that took the CAPT going back to 2007. The same goes for the 64.9 percent At or Above Goal in math.

On a positive note, the 10th grade scored higher than last year's class in reading and writing.

Compared to other districts in their DRG, Monroe's class was near the bottom in every category, including dead last in science, second to the last in writing and third to the last in math.

The SAT

Masuk graduates taking the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) had a mean score of 543 in math, 516 in critical reading and 522 in writing. Though graduates enjoyed the highest math score in town history, there was a drop off of 11 points in reading and 15 points in writing from last year.

Battista said one factor that could drive down Masuk's average is that, while some districts discourage students with poor PSAT scores from taking the SAT, Masuk teachers never discourage students with aspirations for college from taking the test.

While the average of high school graduates taking the SAT in Connecticut was 83%, the percentage of Masuk graduates was 92. Masuk also continues to have the lowest high school dropout rate.

Masuk grads taking the ACT had an average score of 23.3 in English (compared to 23.9 for the state), 23.6 in math (23.8 for the state), 23 in reading (23.9 in the state) and 22.7 in science (23.2 for the state).

The percentage of Monroe students scoring a 3 or higher on the AP exam was 73% for the 260 who took the test.

Wolfe October 02, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Deborah and Qwerty---I agree with the two of you, as well as Jim. Taking standardized tests takes students out of class time instead of spending more time actually learning!! All that this testing does is teach students how to take tests----it does NOT teach them how to learn!!! Using what one has learned in practical situations is learning, not taking standardized tests. When I was a kid, we took ONE state test per year. In high school, we had the OPTION of taking the PSAT or the SAT (depending on what grade you were in).
Alan Vaglivelo October 02, 2012 at 10:25 PM
There are 5 levels of student performance on the CMT/CAPT: Below Basic (1), Basic (2), Proficient (3), Goal (4), Advanced (5). The state reports percent of students at or above goal and the federal government (under No Child Left Behind) uses the proficient level.
Alex October 03, 2012 at 03:01 AM
@D. Sickles I'm sure many parents are working with their children, but it would be naive to believe all parents are. As for being the school's responsibility; that depends on what you're referring to. A child with a disability should receive additional help where teachers and professionals deem necessary. If a child doesn't have a disability then they should receive the same education that their peers have. So for example, if a child doesn't like doing their math homework every night and performs poorly on the standard tests as a result, that's a parental issue, not a school problem and no amount of money will solve that kind of problem. I guess my point is, the knee jerk reaction is typically to spend more, but that isn't necessarily going to increase test scores. Identify the causes and approach them with a pragmatic mindset.
Christine E. October 03, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Alex, Some kids not liking to do their homework have underlying causes. I wouldn't amount it solely to a parenting issue.
Maddy C. October 08, 2012 at 12:15 AM
As a student myself, I can see that budget cuts and teaching (while still important) is not completely to blame. I received advanced on all CAPT testing and notice that the general success ability is in the mindset of our students, like me. They invert our lives towards narrow scopes of thinking especially on test material and nothing more. We, therefore, cannot expand our minds to adapt to the test as a whole. They can tell us again and again how to write an essay. They can give us formulas and facts to memorize, but that doesn't guarantee perfection. We need to understand and think more expanded and versatile. At the end of the day, you can't write the essay for the student, you have to prepare them to handle the situations and find the answer, not memorize a fact!

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