State Keeps Lid On Mastery Test Scores, But Some Districts Eager To Brag
Hartford Plans To Release Scores Thursday; CREC Says Fifth-Graders Closed Gap On Reading
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
July 17, 2012
State education officials were tight-lipped Tuesday about when they will release this year Connecticut Mastery Test scores, but at least two districts eager to brag about their results are jumping the state's embargo.
David Medina, spokesman for the Hartford school system, said that despite the state's request to wait until Friday the district plans to release its scores Thursday morning.
"We advised them that we intend to proceed," Medina said. "We think we've got a story to tell."
He said the city's scores have increased by record levels — surpassing statewide gains — since 2006-2007, but he would not provide details about this year's scores.
In Bloomfield, education officials released scores on the mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance Test on Tuesday, showing dramatic gains.
Meanwhile, Bruce E. Douglas, executive director of the Capitol Region Education Council, said CREC also has good news but plans to honor the state's embargo. He said Hispanic fifth-graders in CREC schools outperformed students in other racial and ethnic groups on the reading test.
"This shows the achievement gap can be overcome," Douglas said, referring to Connecticut's largest-in-the country academic achievement gap between wealthy and poor children and between white students and minority students.
The spokesman for the state Department of Education would not say when statewide scores would be released on the mastery and CAPT tests.
The state-mandated mastery test gauges proficiency in mathematics, reading and writing in grades 3 through 8 and measures science achievement in grades 5 and 8. The CAPT test measures 10th grade performance in reading, writing mathematics and science.
In recent years,the scores have exposed Connecticut's achievement gap and led to a movement to close it.
Douglas said that 100 percent of the Hispanic fifth-graders in CREC schools scored at the proficient level on the reading test, while 95.5 percent scored at the higher "goal" level.
The Hispanic students outperformed the other groups marginally, Douglas said, but "nevertheless, you don't see that in Connecticut." If the test score margin is narrow among sub-groups, Douglas said, ordinarily it's the white students who are on top in Connecticut.
"What I'm telling you is an anomaly," Douglas said. "It's cause for celebration."
Douglas attributed the success of the fifth-graders to CREC programs that began when the children were 3.
He noted that CREC, which runs magnet schools for 8,000 students in the Hartford region, increased enrollment by 2,000 students during the last year — including 1,000 students who took the state's standardized tests — and the students' achievement scores did not drop.
Several in the education field said that it seemed as if the state was taking a particularly long time to analyze and release the scores this year. The scores became available to districts early last week.
Douglas said he is not bothered by the embargo, but he is concerned "that some cities and towns jump the embargo."
Valerie A. Tamano, manager of executive support services for New London Public Schools, said in an email that "our district will be adhering to the State Department's mandate not to release the scores until the embargo is lifted on Friday."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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