November 29 - December 6, 2006
By BRIAN WOODMAN JR., The Hartford News Staff Writer
Four high schools in the Hartford School District are among those that failed to make adequate yearly progress on the 2006 CAPT tests under the guidelines of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, according to information provided by the state Department of Education. The tests are administered to tenth graders each year in the categories of math, science, reading and writing.
Sources with the department indicated that 40 of the 179 high schools in Connecticut were identified as not making adequate progress. About 78 percent of the high schools in Connecticut performed at the standards established under the act during the 2005-06 school year.
The department identified Hartford Public High School and Weaver High School as needing improvement in the math and reading categories on the test. It listed Bulkley High School and the Pathways to Tech¬nology Magnet School for math scores.
Terry D’Italia, a spokesperson for the district, said Hartford is taking steps to improve the scores in forthcoming years. Information from D’Italia indicated there was 6.9 percent general growth in math and 3.9 percent in reading for the district in the number of students performing at the federally targeted level over last year.
The magnet schools in Hartford made adequate progress in participation rates for the test, according to a report from the department. The other magnet schools listed in the report were the Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School, Capital Preparatory Magnet School, University High School and the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy .
Under NCLB guidelines, the report divided the students at the four schools into different subgroups; black, white, Hispanic, American Indian, English language learners, the disabled and the economically disadvantaged.
The district’s report on the tests indicated that at Bulklely, only the black students performed at the targeted level in reading. This still placed the average reading performance on the tests for the school at the required level.
About 47 percent of the students performed at the target level, which represented a 4.1 percent increase over last year.
The average scores in math for both total students and the subgroups at Bulkely failed to make the required progress. About 40 percent of the students reached the target level in math, which marked 4.1 percent growth over last year.
About 63 percent of the Pathways magnet school students achieved at the target level in reading, which marked a 20 percent increase over last year. About 47 percent did so in math, yielding a one percent increase.
At the Hartford Public and Weaver high schools, none of the groups achieved adequate progress in either category. About 37 percent of the students at Hartford High performed at the target level in reading (a 3.3 percent increase over last year) and 39 percent of them reached it in math (a 10.9 percent increase). About 36 percent of the students at Weaver achieved it in reading (a 2.3 percent decrease) and 30 percent in math (a 5.8 percent increase).
D’Italia said efforts to improve overall math performance on future tests include a new math curriculum that was implemented last year in the elementary grades. He described it as more focused on math-related concepts. It also emphasizes algebra at earlier grades, he said.
Other measures include revisiting the district’s reading curriculum, which was established several years ago and highlights Hartford’s focus on literacy, said D’Italia. He said the entire curriculum in the district was also being revised based on current student performance information.