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Test Results Show Continuous Student Improvements

Test Results Show Continuous Student Improvements

Elementary And Secondary Schools Rank High in Comparable Districts

Both the Woodbridge Elementary District and the Amity school system had positive news to share this month, when they laid out the results of the SBAC (Smarter Balance Assessment) and the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).  But the effects of the pandemic with its disruptions of the regular learning environment, are still noticeable in the state assessment results, especially at the middle schools.

Beecher is No 1 – Overall, 80% of Beecher students met or exceeded standards in reading and 74% met or exceeded them in math.  In the science assessment, which is administered in Grade 5 – and later again in grades 8 and 10 – 81.8% met or exceeded the standards – which is not a bad result at all, except that it was down from 84.7% in 2018-19.

Even so, the scores in reading/writing and math put the school at the top of its District Reference Group (DRG), said school assistant principal, Jim Sapia, when he presented the results to the local school board.

“That’s where we want to be,” said board member Jeff Hughes in response.

“Kudos to the teachers,” said Erin Williamson.

The DRGs are district groupings based on the socioeconomic status of the community they are located in.  Woodbridge, Orange and Amity are part of DRG B, along with towns such as Cheshire, Trumbull and 15 others.

Sapia also presented data looking back to two previous assessment cycles, in particular those taken in the spring of 2018 and the spring of 2019.  Although the assessment was administered at the height of the pandemic in 2020-21, the state waived those results as incomparable data points, because some districts tested in person, others did not.  The state did use the data to show quite clearly that the school districts that taught in person fared better than those who did not.

Beecher students at or exceeding grade level standards:

Grade 3

ELA    73%

Math    80%

Grade 4

ELA    79%

Math    81%

Grade 5

ELA    84%

Math    66%

Grade 6

ELA    85%

Math    80%

As for the dip in fifth grade, Principal Lisa Sherman said that group was in third grade when the state shut the schools.  In fourth grade they were learning in all different ways, and last year was the first somewhat normal year.  They are now in sixth grade.

“We do have to unpack it more,” Sherman said, about all the results.

“We all know the Smarter Balance is just one data point – it’s an important data point, but just one data point at how we look at our students,” Sapia said.

For Level 1 and 2 students – those who do not meet the achievement standard or are approaching the standard, the test results may provide information about the need for interventions, Sapia said, but there again, the test results are just one piece of the puzzle.

Board member Maria Madonick said she saw growth at all grade levels as the years progressed.  “Our strength is our teachers, our staff and administration,” she said.

Amity results:  Similarly, newly minted Amity Assistant Superintendent Frank Purcaro presented the Amity results to the regional Board of Education at its meeting on September 12.  The SBAC tests in literacy and math are being administered up to grade 8, so only the two middle schools administer them.  The NGSS science assessment is done in grades 8 and 11, and showed some weakness, in particular in grade 8.

At the Orange Middle School, 52.1% met or exceeded standards, in Bethany 67% – for an average of 60%.  Before the pandemic, both middle schools did remarkably better, with 82% in Orange and 86% in Bethany.

At the high school, 68.4% met or exceeded science standards in Grade 11, down from 71% in 2018-19.

SBAC results for grades 7 and 8 were as follows:

Grade 7

English Language Arts 80% (from 81% in 2018-19)

Math 67% (from 78% in 2018-19)

Grade 8

English Language Art 68% (from 85% 2018-19)

Math 59% (from 82%)


The good news in the report was that Amity Juniors – this year’s Senior class – scored really well in the SATs, which attest to college readiness.  In fact, they scored at about pre-pandemic levels, Purcaro said in his report.

SAT Results:

ELA 87% (2020-21 82%, 2018-19 81%)

Math 66% (from 52% in 20-21, 64% in 18-19)

The math results actually put them at the top of the DRG, he said, and in ELA Amity tied in second spot with Avon.

“The SAT results were tremendous for the high school,” said new principal Andre Hauser.  He said the college board passes back extremely detailed information to the schools.  “They tell us that with this type of question our kids outperform others, with this type of question they struggle more,” he said, adding that all information that will inform instruction going forward.

“Our goal is to move all students forward,” he said.

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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