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By Kim Becker
Christopher Tranberg, the new director of teaching and talent development, presented the district’s standardized test scores for the 2015-16 school year. As the state has refined its curriculum standards in the core subjects, the standardized tests have changed as well. The elementary school levels received Smarter Balance or SBAC testing in grades 3-8 and the CMT/CAPT science test in grades 5, 8, and 10. Eleventh grade students took the math and reading portions of the SAT in lieu of a separate state test.
Overall, grades 3-8 “held steady” in math compared to the district’s Demographic Reference Group (DRG). Grade 6 scored particularly well in both math and English Language Arts. Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 showed improvement in math from 2015 and grades 4, 6 and 8 showed improvement in ELA.
However, the overall math scores were disappointing, especially in grade 8 with only 57 percent scoring at goal or above. Board member Lynn Guelzow requested more detailed data breaking out the scores themselves into percentages. In addition, she expressed interest in the 8th grade students all taking Algebra I and how this may have affected the low scoring.
Continuing to be a source of pride was the CMT/CAPT Science scores. Grades 5, 8 and 10 all scored above the DRG averages. Overall, Granby ranked “third out of 33 districts across all tested grades.” Tranberg attributed the high scores to good curriculum planning that anticipated many of the standards changes made with the state’s Next Generation Science Standards.
The state changed the standardized test for grade 11 from SBAC to the SAT. In January 2016, the College Board rolled out a revised SAT. The Class of 2016 took the older version of the test and continued the declining average score that has been seen since 2014. The scores averaged 1646 for the “super score” and 1603 for the most recent score.
The Class of 2017 took the revised SAT in the spring and performed at a slightly higher level than the DRG. Granby scored an average of 555 in math compared to 507 for the DRG and an average of 565 in ELA compared to 526 for the DRG. In accordance with the state, Granby does not administer the writing portion of the SAT. Superintendent Alan Addley made it clear that he plans to advocate for this change at the state level.
The board was very interested in the equity opportunity of offering the SAT to all students at the high school. Melissa Migliaccio urged the board “to deploy [the] resources” necessary to “ensure all students score well.” She pointed out that most students who can afford it, take private SAT prep classes to boost their scores. This may leave some students at a disadvantage because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn SAT-specific test taking strategies. The high school does offer some resources on Naviance, and out of class.
Advanced Placement exams were also scrutinized. There were increases in the number of students passing AP classes, taking AP exams, and passing those exams. Guelzow again asked for more detailed data regarding the number of students who received each score (1-5) as she hoped for more high scores of 4 and 5 then 3 (passing) and lower. She was also interested in the gender breakout and combination of score and gender data.