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Fairfield Sophomores Grow in Math, Science

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The results are in. The state released scores from the 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Tests (CAPT) Tuesday. They show that Fairfield high school students improved in math, science and writing this past school year. Reading, however, saw declines.

“I think overall, it’s good to see the growth in math and science,” said Gary Rosato, Fairfield’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “That was something we were really looking to improve upon.”

Sophomores across the state take the standardized tests every March. They cover math, science, reading and writing, and group students into five levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Goal and Advanced. In all four subjects, more than 30 percent of Fairfield’s students scored in the “Advanced” level this year.

In mathematics, 69.9 percent scored above Goal, and 34.2 cleared the Advanced mark. Those figures are up from the 66.3 percent and 31.7 percent in 2010. Science scores performed even better, with 71.6 percent reaching Goal and 40.8 percent classified as Advanced. Both groups continued a three-year trend of rising scores.

“When we received the scores from last school year, we took a hard look at the test itself and tried to make sure that what we were teaching was in line with what the students were being asked to do,” Rosado said of the district’s work to boost math and science scores.

Fairfield’s already-high scores in writing also improved in 2011. The percentage of students at Goal stayed at 82.1, more than 20 percentage points higher than the state average. But even more students qualified as Advanced in 2011 than 2010, with more than half (50.7 percent) reaching the highest level .

The one area Rosato singled out for improvement was reading. Fairfield’s scores dropped from 66.7 percent at Goal in 2010 to 63.2 percent in 2011. But there were nevertheless positive signs, with an increase in students at the Advanced level (up three percentage points to 34.2 percent) and at or above Proficiency (95.1 percent, compared to 94.3 in 2010).

So which of the town’s two high schools posted better scores? It depends on which subjects you look at. Fairfield Warde appears to have more numbers-oriented students, with better “Goal” levels in math and science. But Fairfield Ludlowe showed better verbal skills, outpacing the Mustangs in reading and writing scores.

However, Rosado was quick to point out that these are just the results from one test. “It’s a snapshot,” Rosado said. “It’s just one assessment that takes a look at how the kids are performing in these areas on a given, particular day.”

What do you think of Fairfield’s CAPT scores? Leave any questions you have in the comments below.

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