NH High Schools Score Significant Gains on State Tests

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christopher Hoffman

New Haven students register 3.8 percentage point increase in proficiency Across All Subjects

            In a clear sign that New Haven’s School Change reforms are succeeding, New Haven public high school students posted significant gains in overall state CAPT test scores with most high schools showing improvement in achieving state proficiency and goal standards.

            School Change’s goal is to make New Haven the best urban school district in America by raising test scores and closing the achievement gap, reducing the dropout rate, assuring all students are academically and financially able to attend college and improving learning climates at all city schools. The district seeks to achieve these goals by:


  • Ranking schools yearly and requiring all to improve. Under the “Portfolio of Schools” concept, every school is expected to find its own path to excellence;
  • Providing strong support and continuing education to teachers and administrators. A new teacher evaluation system rewards high performers and provides intensive help to low performers who are let go if they fail to improve;
  • Providing social services through Boost! – a partnership with the United Way of Greater New Haven – and strongly encouraging parent participation and engagement;
  • Working closely with New Haven Promise which provides free tuition to eligible students who attend any state of Connecticut university or college.

“No school district in America has undertaken the types of reforms that New Haven has,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “We have tiered and reconstituted schools, instituted a groundbreaking teacher evaluation system, provided new supports for teachers and administrators, launched wraparound services through Boost! and guaranteed eligible students free college tuition to any state of Connecticut university or college through New Haven Promise. Despite the worst economic downturn in a generation, we have not lost focus on what is important: raising test scores and closing the achievement gap, reducing the dropout rate, assuring all students are academically and financially able to attend college and improving learning climates at all city schools. The announcements of this year’s CAPT scores are a great first step, and I look forward to even great improvement in the future. ”
In its first year, which ended June 30, School Change made significant progress in all areas. The district ranked all schools into tiers for the first time and required improvement plans; implemented the new teacher evaluation system; piloted Boost! at five schools, conducted its second school climate surveys and  helped New Haven Promise award its first scholarships.

Results of the CAPT test, which test sophomores in science, math, reading and writing, represent yet another significant achievement in School Change’s first year, indicating the reforms are working. Across all subjects, students registered a 3.8 percentage point increase in proficiency and a 1.8 percentage point hike in achieving the higher standard of goal. The district exceeded its goal of increasing proficiency 3.4 percentage points this year.

Students posted gains in proficiency in all four subjects and in goal in three of four subjects. The biggest increases came in proficiency in math, 4.7 percentage points, science, 4.5 percentage points, and writing, 3.8 percentage points. In all but one category the scores are the highest since 2007, the first year the current version of the test was administered.

Wilbur Cross High School, the city’s biggest, showed the greatest improvement, followed by Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School and Metropolitan Business Academy. Sound School, the district’s only Tier I high school, continued to turn in the highest scores.

“I’m pleased by these scores and want to give special recognition to high school teachers and administrators for making this happen,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo said. “These results are proof of the power of our collaborative approach, teachers, administrators and parents working together to improve performance. We have poured a strong foundation on which to build and expand School Change, seeking to make New Haven a model for the nation.

“I am especially happy to see significant progress at Wilbur Cross, which improved scores across all subjects both in meeting proficiency and goal.

“While I am pleased, I am not satisfied. These results are only a starting point for even bigger gains. To ensure our students are ready for college and life, we need to continue to do better – particularly at the higher goal standard.  I know our teachers, administrators and parents are committed to accelerating academic improvements for our high school students.”

Across all subjects, Wilbur Cross students’ achievement of proficiency and goal increased nearly 9 percentage points, from 50.7 to 59.4 percent proficient and 18.9 to 27.4 percent at goal.

     Cross scores were up across the board in proficiency and at goal in all four subjects. The biggest jumps included:

·         Doubling the percentage of students achieving goal in math, 14.6 to 29.3 percent;
·         A 10.1 percentage point increase in students meeting goal in science, going from 13.6 to 23.7 percent;
·         A 9.1 percentage point gain in students at or above proficiency in writing, 60.5 to 69.6.

Coop also turned in strong results, going up 8.7 percentage points, from 68.7 to 77.4 percent, in proficiency across all subjects. The school went up 7.4 percentage points to 30.4 percent in achieving goal across all subjects. It also improved significantly in all subjects except one in both proficiency and goal, including:

·         A more than one-third jump in students meeting the writing goal, 34.7 to 46.6 percent
·         A nearly one-third jump in  math proficiency, 51 to 66.3 percent;
·         An 8.5 percentage point increase in science proficiency and an 8.7 percentage point hike in science goal, 14.5 to 23.2 percent.

MBA showed significant improvement going from 57.2 to 62.2 percent in overall proficiency and registering a 5 percentage point hike in math proficiency.

The results showed overall improvement in the four subjects – math, reading, writing and science – both since 2010 and over the last four years. The biggest increases have come in math, science and writing.

The district will release the Connecticut Mastery Test scores for k-8 schools tomorrow in compliance with the state’s schedule.