Testing in Connecticut: An Overview
A GreatSchools guide to standardized tests
By GreatSchools Staff
Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2007-2008 Connecticut used the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading, writing and math, and for the first time in grades 5 and 8 in science. The Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) was administered to grade 10 students in reading, writing, math and science. Both the CMT and the CAPT are standards-based tests that measure specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Connecticut.
How are the tests scored?
CMT and CAPT results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. The tests are scored based on five levels of achievement, with level 1 being the lowest and level 5 the highest. Students scoring at or above level 3 are considered to be proficient. The state's goal is for all students to score at or above level 4.
Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?
For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at or above the proficient level is displayed.
Why do the tests matter?
Connecticut test results provide an indication of whether students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards. Although test results alone are not used to determine grade-level promotion or retention, low scores on standardized tests might suggest the need for additional assistance. In Connecticut's priority school districts (those districts identified by the state as being in particular need of improvement), students in grades 4 and 6 who receive a score of level 1 on the CMT reading test may be asked to attend a summer reading program.
It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall scores for her school. If your child scores below the standards, contact the teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home.
Test results are important for schools in Connecticut because the state uses them to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for obtaining supplemental services or for transferring to a higher-performing school.
A few parting words
Although test results can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom, they don't tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.
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