Harries “Disappointed” With Science Test Results

NHPSNew Haven schools took one step forward and two steps back in the latest release of standardized test scores.

The results—for standardized science tests—came out Thursday.

Eighth-graders’ science scores on Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT)  rose from last year’s. Fifth-graders’ CMT science scores and tenth-graders’ Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) scores dropped.

Above is a chart the school system released showing the trajectory of those annual scores since 2008, the year before New Haven launched a school-reform drive.

Over that time, “science scores have improved modestly across all grades at the Proficient and Goal levels, with progress ahead of the state at several grade levels. Much work remains to be done to accelerate progress and more fully prepare students for success in college and the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] careers of the future,” schools spokeswoman Abbe Smith stated in a press release.

“Although the CMT is only a partial measure of what is happening in our classrooms, and our progress in 8th grade and some turnarounds remain as bright spot, I am nonetheless disappointed that we didn’t see more comprehensive progress in science this year.  We need be sure all our students can demonstrate both the behaviors and knowledge of a scientists so when they need to, so they can be prepared for tomorrow’s workforce,” the release quoted Superintendent Garth Harries as saying.

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posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on August 15, 2014  10:37am

After spending millions of dollars of the taxpayer’s money,the superintendent is “disappointed” with test scores after several years of “school reform.” That is an understatement! About 100,000 taxpayers are disappointed that our tax dollars are being spent to have our kids get better scores on standardized tests and not make impressive progress.
It is so sad that in New Haven and other parts of the United States we are measuring student achievement on results of standardized tests! Education has been REDUCED to scores on standardized tests. Teaching has been REDUCED to preparing kids to perform well on standardized tests.
Students graduating from New Haven schools today do not know as much as their grandparents because they are not exposed to the broad range of knowledge that a classical liberal arts curriculum used to offer our students. Course content is more limited today because teachers do NOT have the time to teach all of what was once taught because the teachers are so busy preparing students for standardized tests! The CAPT test alone takes nearly two weeks to administer!
So Mr. Garth is so disappointed that he cannot speak. He had to issue a press release about the failure of reform to produce better test results.
The BOE has reformed Hillhouse. A school that had one principal now will have three to head three new “academies.” More administrators, more money, fewer students! The color-coded academies propose to provide better education for our youth! Three heads,one school. Sounds like a ball of confusion or a three ring circus!
we will try Mr. Harries plan, like so many other past school reforms and reorganizations, for a year or two, become “disappointed” or disillusioned when things don’t work out as planned, and then move on to another experiment with our children. All at taxpayer expense!
New Haveners are so tired of being “disappointed” with the New Haven public schools. That is why so many are so desperate to get their kids into charter schools!

posted by: anonymous on August 15, 2014  11:45am

How much did statewide scores improve since 2008? Seems like a critical piece of missing context. If statewide scores doubled and New Haven improved 3%, that’s pretty terrible. If statewide scores plummeted but New Haven went up 3% then maybe things aren’t that bad.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on August 15, 2014  1:45pm

Very concerning.

posted by: RichTherrn on August 15, 2014  11:40pm

The article doesn’t link to the complete press release, found at http://www.nhps.net/node/3377.
Comparison to state level results are found in the both in the release and accompanying graphs, as well as a discussion of other measures used to evaluate science achievement.
Richard Therrien
NHPS Science Supervisor.