The Connecticut State Department of Education released the results of last year’s state standardized tests on Monday, Sept. 9. Students at Wilton’s Cider Mill and Middlebrook Schools showed a slight improvement on test scores from 2018 to 2019. However, on the measure of how students are meeting their growth targets, Wilton schools showed a slight year-to-year decline.

Schools in Connecticut administer the Smarter Balanced Assessments to assess student achievement as well as growth over time. The tests are aligned to new academic standards adopted by the state in 2010 to measure college and career readiness expectations.

Last year’s test scores showed that 81.9% of Wilton’s 3-8 graders met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts (ELA), up from 80.3% in the school year ending in 2018.

As for performance on the math section, 74.9% of Wilton students met or exceeded expectations, a rise from 73.3% the year before.

But overall performance and scores are not the only marker educators look at.

According to a report prepared by the CT State Department of Education, “Educators have long held that matched student growth results are often a better indicator of the effectiveness of educational interventions than simply comparing achievement scores or proficiency rates from one year to the next.”

Looking at how Wilton students met growth targets in ELA, 49.7% of students did meet those targets in 2018-2019, a slight decline from 51.9% the prior school year. While that growth is an improvement from 2016-2017, it’s a 6.6% drop overall since 2015-2016.

There was a similar drop in the math results growth rate:  53.4% of Wilton’s students met their growth targets in 2018-2019, a dip from 55.7% the year before. The four-year trend in math shows a similar overall drop, from 59.9% in 2015-2016, to 53.4% in 2018-2019.

Overall, 1,782 students were tested last year. Here’s how the specific results broke down:

ELA

  • Level 1–Not Met:  6.7% (119)
  • Level 2–Approaching:  11.5% (204)
  • Level 3–Met:  36.9% (657)
  • Level 4–Exceeded:  45.0% (801)

Math

  • Level 1–Not Met:  8.1% (144)
  • Level 2–Approching:  17.1% (304)
  • Level 3–Met:  30.0% (535)
  • Level 4–Exceeded:  44.8% (799)

Comparing the scores by gender, here’s how students scored:

In ELA, 85% of the girls met or exceeded expectations, while 78.8% of the boys did. In math, those numbers were reversed but slightly closer between the two groups–73.2% of the girls and 76.5% of the boys met or exceeded expected achievement levels.

Looking at the scores for students with special education status, shows significant gaps between cohorts. Wilton’s scores broke down as follows:

  • 33% of special education students did not meet ELA expectations; that number was far less–2.1%–for students without special education status. For math, the gap was even wider:  43.3% of special education students didn’t meet expectations while 2.0% of students without that status didn’t meet expectations.
  • At the other end of the assessment measures, 39.8% of special education students met or exceeded ELA expectations, compared to 89.2% of students without special education status; for math, 24.3% of the special education students met or exceeded expectations, versus 83.6% of students without special education designation.

Looking at schools in Wilton’s District Reference Group (DRG-A), we’ve broken it down by subject and listed the other schools’ results in descending order:

ELA

New Canaan 89.6%
Darien 84.4%
Ridgefield 83.9%
Westport 83.8%
Wilton 81.9%
Easton 80.8%
Redding 79.1%
Weston 77.6%

Math

New Canaan 88.3%
Darien 84.8%
Westport 83.3%
Wilton 80.3%
Redding 77.8%
Ridgefield  77.6%
Weston 75.1%
Easton 74.3%

All the scores are available on the EdSight website.

UPDATE:  Sept. 12–Dr. Kevin Smith sent the following comment after  the scores were released:  “I am pleased with our gains and continue to focus on our growth areas. While the SBA is an important measure, it is limited in what it measures and certainly doesn’t measure everything we value as a school district.”

He also provided a memo he sent to the members of the Board of Education, in which he broke out results by grade:

“The overall results for Wilton are quite positive, although there is some variability across grade levels. In ELA, the percentage of students meeting grade level standards increased by 9 points in third grade, 2 points in fourth grade, and 12 points in seventh grade. The percentage of students decreased by 4 points in fifth grade, 1 point in sixth grade, and 6 points in eighth grade.

“In math, the percentage of students meeting grade level standards increased by 7 points in third grade, 4 points in fourth grade, 10 points in seventh grade, and remained the same in eighth grade. The percentage of students decreased by 7 points in fifth grade and 4 points in sixth grade.

“When compared to their performance in the previous grade level, the percentage of students meeting standards increased by 4 points in fourth grade, by 5 points in fifth grade, and by 3 points in seventh grade (in ELA). In math, the percentage of students increased by 4 points in fourth grade, by 3 points in sixth grade, and by 6 points in seventh grade.

“It is also important to note that Wilton students who received remedial support made notable achievement gains and as a result are closer to meeting grade level standards.

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