CAPT scores up across the board

It’s nice to see that West Hartford’s sophomores raised their scores in every category this year over last year’s performance.

Here’s the results:

MATH – 59.3 percent at goal this year compared to 56.8 last year

SCIENCE – 64.6 at goal this year compared to 63.9 last year

READING – 64 at goal this year compared to 62 last year

WRITING – 69.8 at goal this year compared to 68.3 last year

In terms of proficiency, a lower standard…

MATH – 88.5 percent this year compared to 86.9 last year

SCIENCE – 92.4 this year compared to 90.3 last year

READING – 91.1 this year compared to 87.9 last year

WRITING – 93.8 this year compared to 90.7 last year

I know the results can fluctuate year to year because classes differ, but it’s still good to see that in every major category, West Hartford students improved.

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46 Comments

Filed under education, News, Schools, West Hartford

46 responses to “CAPT scores up across the board

  1. Mother of Three

    Glad to see the trend is so positive! So much for the “vote no” crowd and their badmouthing of our schools.

  2. Cynic

    Chart makes it hard to tell where we are in the State, but it looks like we were again beaten by Farmington, Avon, and Simsbury.

  3. A teacher

    We’re always going to be “beaten” by richer, whiter towns like Avon, Simsbury and to a lesser degree Farmington. We have more low-income families by far than they do. Frankly, I’m surprised our scores are so high. It’s a testament to the fine work of educators and the effort of students here.

  4. Cynic

    So you’re saying I should look for a home in those other towns if I’m white or asian?

  5. rob

    Teacher:

    Avon, Farmington etal (Canton!) all have their share of kids who will have some difficulty with the test for whatever reason. How about the parents? What we really have here in WH is a diverse group of kids who are being poorly taught by people who depend on process and canned (expensive) programs and march to rules handed down on tablets from the state. Please do not use the race or the family income of the students as an excuse for poor performance as measured by the CAPT.

    What I see is a bloated arrogant defensive increasingly incompetent WH school district. I am confident that there are many many WH teachers (and parents), maybe even most, who truly care, are angry and frustrated by the rules and nonsense, and regret the bad image presented by those incompetent and petty Board Members and town administrators and those few “teachers” who are doing so much damage to them, the kids, the taxpayor, and the town. The proof is and will be in the state CAPT results. Alas, it is the only measure.

    I really don’t care how much money the District spends, just perform. So far, you are not so you have to deal with your unhappy source of resources. Us. Beat Avon, Simsbury and Farmington next year and I will guarantee you clear sailing at budget time.

    Note I did not mention the Union. The union reflects the wishes of the voting members.

    As an interesting side note, everybody – most of all the WH school district but the town administration is in a swoon as well, are freaking out over the mere mention of an independent audit. Avon, bless their little upper income whiter selves, is likely going to do it very soon! If they do and the audit is effective, guess who will win the CAPT race, yet again, over the next years? It’s not going to be WH.

  6. El Toro

    Rob & Cynic,

    Stop comparing West Hartford to Avon, Simsbury or Farmington as it is nothing like those towns. West Hartford is very different in many positive ways and that is why it has the great reputation that it has. An example of this is Money Magazine recently listing West Hartford as one of the top 100 Cities/Towns to live in in the country (only city or town from CT in the top 100). You should both move to Avon, Simsbury or Farmington if you like those towns so much.

  7. Cynic

    So who should we compare ourselves to? Hartford?

    West Hartford claims to have a top notch education system, high income and high property values. But when the tests come in the town is in the middle of the pack and the excuses start. Property values are dropping as better value can be found elswher in both housing and education. Which means the money will follow as well.

    As far as I’m concerned as a middle class taxpayer in town, I think the town should be on par with those other 3 middle class suburbs.

    as to the Money Mag picking W.Hartford #76. It was for Safety and leisure, not education or jobs or property values. Safety appears to now be a question as we seem to be seeing more crime in town.

  8. Rob

    El Toro:

    What is so different about them? Oh, except the schools have better results than WH does.

    My moving won’t help the kids here. In fact, if I were to move it would be in another state, one with effective public schools and a reasonably intelligent legislature.

  9. turtle

    Property values are dropping…

    Really? Not in my neighborhood.

  10. steve johnson

    lets go mets!

  11. Steve (Not Johnson)

    Avon is not being “audited”. The town is hiring a consultant to review the whole town system, not just the school system to see where it can be more efficient. It is not an independent audit.

    I believe West Hartford has over 10,000 students.
    Avon may have 4,000.

  12. Cynic

    Avon’s budget book is alot more readable then the WH Budget. Therefore the need for the audit may not be as great.

  13. Rob

    Steve (not Johnson)

    I agree. That’s the point, Avon is permitting an independent view of how efficiently and effectively it spends tax income. That is huge.

    It means several things but it also means this: The elected officials of Avon don’t think there is any material problem but they have a fiduciary duty to independently confirm that fact.

    I am deeply suspicious of any official (or union)who resists the obvious check and balance duty to make sure the town is organized and spending money as efficiently and as transparently as possible.

    I’m even more suspicious of any official who doesn’t support aggressive internal operating audit processes. Usually they pay for themselves pretty quickly.

  14. turtle

    Cynic cynically moves the goalposts.

    Rob is suspicious. What are you suspicious of, Rob? Do you really think the town is taking you for a ride?

    I, too, am suspicious. I am suspicious that you do not have a good-faith interest in whether the “town is organized and spending money as efficiently and as transparently as possible”. I suspect you are actually interested in discrediting by innuendo and insult “those” public servants who were elected by a landslide and who worked exhaustively to inform the public about the budget.

    Please do not use the race or the family income of the students as an excuse for poor performance as measured by the CAPT.

    Do you deny that there are profound income and cultural gaps in Connecticut, the richest state in the union? Of course the teachers are always a convenient scapegoat for the broader issues confronting the state. Because it’s only fair to expect the teachers to remedy every difficulty that comes down the pike in addition to teaching the curriculum. Right.

    You are “confident” of widespread discontent with schools that are considered among the top high schools in Connecticut despite West Hartford ranking 84th of 169 towns in per pupil expenditures. On what basis are you confident?

  15. Rob

    Turtle:

    Sigh. In order:

    I am not suspicious. All I am is not sure that my many many tax dollars (probably the third or fourth largest expense of any household) is being spent efficiently. I’m not, as you imply, taking anything away from the elected officials and town employees but I want to know for sure that they are doing the best job possible and not locked in to a custom or practice that is counterproductive or inefficient. I am convinced our elected officials are doing the best they can but they are, after all, human beings in a bad situation. I’m certain if they, like Avon, had their druthers they would like to hold up an independent report that says all is well and then tell us to shut up.

    Town employees are paid by the taxpayer, their employers, and we have every right to know how well, not just where, they are spending the money. They should if not must want to know that as well.

    Second, I am far from making the teachers the scapegoats. I am convinced, once again, that every teacher in the system is dedicated to their mission to teach every child as much as the child can truly absorb. I am equally convinced, however, that these folks are being hamstrung by an overbearing School District “home office”, a state education department filled with boondoggles and political junk, some few fellow teachers not holding up their end, an unresponsive and bureaucratic union, ill concieved (and expensive) “programs” dumped on them at a whim, whining parents and parents who cannot be found, no support, mad taxpayors, some disrespectful and unchallenged students, too much institutional tolerance for endless and unproductive meetings, il-prepared unmotivated students, meaningless and counterproductive missives and rules from everyone. It’s actually amazing they get any time to truly develope well rounded, literate, respectful, thinking, ambitious, articulate children at all.

    Indeed, massive amounts of money could probably be saved and test scores rocket if we turned everything upside down and put the teachers in charge.

    Yes, there are massive cultural desparities but brains are brains and they need enrichment and dicipline. Given the flexibilibity I am certain that motivated and well compensated teachers could erase any performance differences enabled with a good measure of freedom not presently granted. Cultural disparities exist throughout the state, in every town. A spoiled disrespectful self indulgent emotionally troubled kid can exist, and does exist, everywhere. They need professional help to achieve, and that help has to be directly brought to bear early and hard from a variety of cordinated resources, including his or her teachers. To say nothing of the parent.

    It shouldn’t matter what is spent per child. That is a false measure. What matters is how well the students are taught. The absolutely sole source of objective information I have is the results of the mandated state tests and that, I admit, takes out much that cannot be objectively measured.

    After witnessing many School Board meetings on TV and based on my deep experience in management in the private sector, I percieve the school administration as not up to the task. The task being to beat out Avon, Farmington, Simsbury and Litchfield County Schools for the shear satisfaction of it. Oh, yes, and have hoards of people from these towns on my doorstep throwing money at me to buy my house so they can put their kids in WH Schools.

    As they say, follow the money.

  16. steve johnson

    papelbon is a baby

  17. Cynic

    Mastery Test reslts are out.
    Looks like we were agian at the bottom of our DRG.
    Don’t know the State ranking, last year we were 56 in the State.

    The Administration took a year to develop their DIP, and totally ignored the current class of test takers. The DIP is only set to gather data in the next year, leads to much hope for the next year test results

    The picture will not be pretty this year when the NCLB list comes out. Last year they were predicting both High Schools would be on it and if I recall 3 of the 5 Middle Schools

  18. Kevin Walsh

    We have five middle schools?

  19. Kevin Walsh

    Which two middle schools were NOT predicted to be on the list?

  20. turtle

    Rob at July 17, 11:45 a.m.

    I am deeply suspicious….

    I’m even more suspicious….

    Rob at July 17, 2:41 p.m.

    I am not suspicious.

    Rob at July 17, 11:45 a.m.

    What I see is a bloated arrogant defensive increasingly incompetent WH school district….the bad image presented by those incompetent and petty Board Members and town administrators and those few “teachers” who are doing so much damage to them, the kids, the taxpayor [sic], and the town.

    Rob at July 17, 2:41 p.m.

    I’m not, as you imply, taking anything away from the elected officials and town employees…

    Protest much?

  21. turtle

    Cynic said: The Administration took a year to develop their DIP, and totally ignored the current class of test takers.

    What evidence do you have for this wild claim?

  22. Cynic

    DIP approved March 2008

    No indication was given by Karen List that anything was being done for the current classes. Test results would appear to bear that out.

  23. Pingback: A Closer Look at West Hartford’s 2008 CAPT Results « West Hartford Forums

  24. turtle

    Cynic–

    I meant your claim that the administration “totally ignored the current class of test takers”. Absurd on its face.

  25. Cynic

    ” res ipsa loquitur ”

    - The facts speak for themselves.

  26. WH Alum

    Rob, you said some very important things:

    parents who cannot be found, no support, … some disrespectful and unchallenged students, … il-prepared (sic) unmotivated students,

    These are the kids taking the test! If they are unmotivated, how do you think they test? They are probably making designs in the bubbles. How do you think the kids do who have parents who can’t be found and don’t give any support to the kids or the schools? If there is no support for education for the parents, how important do you think the kids feel it is for them to do well on the test? They are probably just happy not to have to listen to the teachers for those 90 minutes.

    We are NOT Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, or Glastonbury. Check out what WH Forums had to say about the free/reduced lunch data. (Nice analysis, by the way.) The sheer numbers of kids in WH alone makes us vastly different, and our rich and wonderful diversity does has it’s price, unfortunately, when it comes to standardized test taking.

    http://whforums.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/a-closer-look-at-west-hartfords-2008-cmt-results-the-problem-with-drg/

    Should you move to WH if you are white or Asian, cynic? Only if you put so much stock in those scores that you think your own kids can’t succeed. I’ll wait for my own children’s scores to arrive before I worry too much about it.

  27. Rob

    Alum:

    I agree that the individual child’s success trumps the group score but, alas, the group score is the only objective way those families considering WH as a home can judge the relative merits re schools.

    As far as the kids “feelings” are concerned maybe most of all they need to “feel” challenged and then learn how success feels. There’s a switch in there somewhere.

  28. Cynic

    There you go Rob. You got it right.

    If an outsider is looking to move to the area the only way they can evaluate is by looking at the Statewide standardized tests. And AVON, Simsbury, Glastobury and Farmington all put us to shame, and represent a better value for the $$$.

  29. Rob

    Re WH Schools:

    Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t we (WH through our elected officials) turn over the management of the least proficient schools in the district to the boys and girls employed by an “outside manager”?

    I doubt we’ll do much worse, and maybe a whole lot better overall, and if it proves successful then that model can be adopted throughout the district.

    Interesting editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal which should be made to be required reading at all school administrative levels and for sure at the political.

    Also, I have to add as an editorial:

    “I call on the WH Mayor and all elected and non-elected employees of the Town and all residents of the town to in turn call on the Connecticut State Legislature and sorrounding towns and cities to stop the deterioration of civility in Hartford at the soonest possible moment. We call on the law enforcement bodies of the state, and Federal authorities including ICE, if by necessity occupy the city until such time as every person residing in the city is objectively determined to be a legal resident of the city of Hartford. Each person may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law in finding that the presumed residency is not based on wrongfully acquired identification and/or other documents of any kind that falsly assumes the name of and other identifying documents.”

    “As residing in or representing an adjoining town with deep interest in the well being of our cultural center it is beyond question that the elected officials of Hartford are not capable or unwilling to resolve matters of civil accord within the confines of the city of Hartford.”

    Had to do it, sorry.

  30. Gary Reger

    Rob,

    Sorry but I don’t understand your editorial. What’s the issue?

  31. Rob

    Gary:

    The issue is that our adjacent neighbor, Hartford, is a war zone and all we can worry about is leaf collections?

    Mayor eddy is too busy serving himself and his buddies and the Legislature is so incompetent they can’t see what’s going on beyond the palace gate. The Governator is busy swatting flies and meanwhile people in Hartford, mostly kids, are shot and killed daily. Good caring citizens are being beat up for no reason. The schools cannot produce any substantial number of educated kids. The small businesses – employers – are being taxed out. People are too frightened to stray out of their living rooms at night out of both fear of harm and the fear of being a witness to the crimes constantly being committed amongst the husks of buildings, lots, garbage and weeds. Pardon me but this is all happening a brisk hike from your front door. Not New Haven. Not Newark. Not Bagdad. Here.

    Seems to me that the only rational thing to do is start a robust protest of these conditions and the people who abide it, both as an immediate and threatened neighbor and because to witness this collapse and not say anything is no better than for a moment stopping to watch some poor soul suffering in the street after being hit by a driver of a car who simply drove away (probably talking on his/her cellphone) then walking on.

  32. Switched

    Dead again, it will never, ever be like it used to

  33. Databoy

    Sorry to pick up on the discussion so late in the game but I thought I might refresh the conversation in which our schools were compared to Avon, Simsbury, and Farmington.
    Of course, data and research can be manipulated in many ways, so I would like to refer everyone to a link that allows you to examine statewide CMT data however you like. It allows you to “disaggregate” the data so that you can compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. In other words, you can compare schools to schools, districts to districts, and tests to tests. It allows you to see the performance of subgroups within schools and districts as well. Its all very interesting when you delve a few layers below the surface. Comparing a district’s average score to another district’s average score is a simplistic way to judge a school district.

    Just do a google search on “Connecticut CMT data”. I may have to follow this comment up with the exact web address in a few moments.
    Anyway, after looking at the data for the students taking the 8th grade CMTs this year in Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, and West Hartford, one thing becomes very very clear. There are huge differences in socioeconomics and ethnicity between these towns that cannot be overlooked. These differences do not simply serve as convenient excuses for the teachers and administrators. They stand as formidable realities that lead to the Achievement Gap that is so prevalent in our society. Of course, the academic achievement gap is connected directly to an income gap, a cultural gap, a linguistic gap, an intellectual gap, a priorities gap, etc….. but that is a collection of Pandoras boxes that cannot be addressed here.
    The following data is based upon 8th graders taking the CMT test this year. I have rounded the numbers, so in some cases, not all percentages will total 100%. I have also presented the subgroups in the same order that the state presents it. (ethnicity, economic status, special ed, then linguistics)

    Ethnicity:
    Avon: 91% white, 2% black, 2% hispanic, 6% Asian.
    Farmington: 84% white, 7% black, 4% hispanic, 7% asian
    Simsbury: 88% white, 3% black, 3% hispanic, 7% asian.
    West Hartford: 62% white, 11% black, 17% hispanic, 9% asian.

    Socioeconomics:
    Avon: 3% qualify for free/reduced lunch
    Farmington: 10% qualify
    Simsbury: 5%
    West Hartford: 17% qualify for free/reduced

    Special Education population:
    Avon: 11%
    Farmington: 9%
    Simsbury: 10%
    West Hartford: 12%

    ELL population (English as a second language)
    Avon: 4%
    Farmington 0%
    Simsbury 0%
    West Hartford 3%

    Size of district (number of 8th graders tested)
    Avon: 306
    Farmington: 322
    Simsbury: 412
    West Hartford: 696

    Look at these numbers with an open mind and think about teaching a class of 24 individuals from many different backgrounds with vastly different levels of 1) fluency in English, 2) exposure to the world, 3) motivation to excel academically, 4) nutrition 5) parental support 6) role models 7) intellectual capacity 8) access to technology 9) access to school 10) freedom from distraction etc…

    When you think about classrooms as being melting pots and microcosms of a larger society, you begin to realize that there is a danger in relying too much on standardized test results as a basis for judging the quality of a town’s educational system. Standardized tests are a valuable tool and perhaps the most objective one at our disposal. But I would caution anyone against buying and selling a home based upon an average score achieved by a collection of students with bubble sheets.

    I encourage you to go to the state website that has provided this data and have a look for yourself. I will follow this comment with another that provides the exact web address.

  34. Databoy

    Here is the link to the afforementioned website:

    https://solutions1.emetric.net/cmtpublic/index.aspx

  35. TunaTacoGrande

    Great post, Databoy.

    People who want to compare W. Hartford to the likes of Avon and Simsbury are very disillusioned.

    West Hartford students are 62% white, people! Open your eyes Dorothy. You’re not in Avon anymore.

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