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State Elementary School Test Results Slip – Surprising Explanation

by on August 14, 2013

The REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN ran a story in the Litchfield Country Section Wednesday, August 14, explaining that CAPT test scores dropped in elementary and middle schools.

CAPT tests have been used to test our schools for a few years now, with New Hartford and Region 7 students doing very well on them.  Their performance in high school, on SAT Tests, and acceptance of many to prestigious colleges and universities seemed to have a direct correlation with those results.

We are told in the article “State and local education officials attributed the drop at the elementary level this year to the implementation of the new Common Core standards, which presents lessons to students in a different format and pace.”  The Torrington Superintendent explains that they cover a lot about a little now, not a little about a lot.  We’re also told by Stefan Prior, Connecticut Education Commissioner that the drop “isn’t a big surprise.”  CAPT tests, he explains, no longer really “fit” and the new “Smarter Balanced” test will fit much better with the way they’re being taught.

I’d like to note here that they’ve stopped using the term “Smarter Balanced Assessment” because word is out that it really is a test.

There are reasons for concern.  Our schools have switched to a new centralized curriculum, evidently already, without much in the way of explanation.  Scores on standardized tests administered by the State of Connecticut to gauge how well they were doing, which previously seemed to have a valid correlation to outcomes both in high school and beyond, have dropped.

If New Hartford and Region 7 weren’t among the top performers on the state tests, I might not be so concerned.   When those “Smarter Balanced” tests begin to look uniformly good across the board, they will indicate a problem.  Our worse fear will be realized.  That fear is that in order to standardize education for all, they’ve made it so mediocre that everybody gets a win.   That would be a crime.

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