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2007 CMT Reading Scores Are 'Disappointing'



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2007 CMT

Reading Scores Are ‘Disappointing’

HARTFORD — On Friday, July 27, the Connecticut Department of Education released its report on the 2007 CMTs. While there are some solid gains in math and modest gains in writing scores statewide, Connecticut’s 2007 Mastery Test results show a continued downward trend in student reading performance.

“We are very concerned with the state of our students’ comprehension skills, particularly in their ability to read by third grade,” said State Education Commissioner Mark K. McQuillan in announcing the statewide scores.

The decline in reading performance appears to reach back several years on the CMT and is evident in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores as well.

This is the second year of the fourth generation CMT, which is now administered in the spring to all public school students in Grades 3 through 8. In addition to statewide average scores in reading, writing, and mathematics, the test results also present data for student subgroups that give insight into substantial achievement gaps among racial and economic groups and between male and female performance. 

Overall, the scores show:

*Gains in most grades in mathematics and writing performance statewide, as measured by the percentage of students scoring at or above the proficient and goal levels;

*Modest declines overall in reading scores statewide;

*A moderate gender gap in reading and a large gender gap in writing performance with boys scoring substantially lower than girls; females consistently outperform males by about five percentage points in reading and by at least ten percentage points in writing;

*No gender gap in mathematics with girls scoring at about the same level as boys;

*Large gaps continue to persist in performance between minority and white students and between high poverty and low poverty students across all grades in math, reading, and writing as measured by proficient and goal levels; for example, in Grade 4, white students outperform black and Hispanic students at the goal level by 35 to 40 percentage points in reading, writing, and math.

“Connecticut should lead the nation in reading performance and in closing the achievement gap,” said Commissioner McQuillan. “Connecticut’s entire educational system needs to focus greater attention on the acquisition of basic academic skills, and we should use information provided on CMT performance to improve instruction, particularly for our lowest-performing students.

The commissioner said that he will pursue a series of actions to address the challenge:

*Work with teacher preparation institutions to improve the quality of training programs for new teachers, particularly elementary and middle school teachers, to become effective teachers of reading;

*Disseminate to districts newly created model curriculum, grade level expectations, and pacing guides to serve as the basis for instruction in language arts, mathematics, and science;

*Support the provision of targeted professional development activities to assist districts/schools in implementing the new curriculum;

*Encourage districts to use benchmark assessments in language arts and mathematics regularly to determine if students are meeting expected standards;

*Expect and encourage schools to focus on teaching the basics of reading in accordance with Connecticut’s Blueprint for Reading Achievement and Beyond the Blueprint: Literacy in Grades 4–12 and Across the Content Areas;

*Support districts in providing information and training for parents to encourage reading in the home and complement efforts in the classroom to help Connecticut’s children become confident, capable readers.

“Connecticut has much to do. We need to work together,” said Commissioner McQuillan.

Now that the state results have been released, it will take several weeks for each school district to receive their specific information.

“The state provides hard copy reports on every student,” said Donna Pagé, principal at Sandy Hook School. “Copies go home to the parents early fall.”

The schools receive individual student reports and a report on their school’s outcomes. It takes some time to analyze all the data provided by the CMTs.

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