Results of the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, known as the SBAC, have been released for Connecticut, and they are a mixed bag for the Wilton School District. These tests are based on the common core state standards and the results were announced Friday, Aug. 28.
The tests are scored on four levels:
Level 1: Does not meet the achievement level;
Level 2: Approaching the achievement level;
Level 3: Meets the achievement level;
Level 4: Exceeds the achievement level.
The tests were given to students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics.
As a whole, Wilton students performed as follows:
ELA/Literacy
9.6% at Level 1
16.8% at Level 2
41.7% at Level 3
31.9% at Level 4
Mathematics
13.6% at Level 1
29.2% at Level 2
31.3% at Level 3
26.0% at Level 4
This translates into 73.6% of students taking the test meeting or exceeding the achievement level in ELA/Literacy and 57.3% meeting or exceeding the achievement level in mathematics. More precise scoring is expected to be released in late January.
By grade level, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the achievement level was as follows:
ELA/Literacy
Grade 3 — 76.1%
Grade 4 — 66.4%
Grade 5 — 76.1%
Grade 6 — 73.2%
Grade 7 — 80.8%
Grade 8 — 86.6%
Grade 11 — 55.8%
Mathematics
Grade 3 — 66.5%
Grade 4 — 57.3%
Grade 5 — 46.6%
Grade 6 — 48.3%
Grade 7 — 65.3%
Grade 8 —55.4%
Grade 11 — 61.9%
Statewide, 55.4% of students met or exceeded the achievement level in ELA/Literacy and 39.1% of students met or exceeded the achievement level in mathematics.
These scores were as state officials expected, a press release from the state Department of Education (DOE) said. “The scores were expected to look dramatically lower than previous test scores because of the alignment of the curricula, standards, and exams to higher-level thinking requisite for college and career success,” it said. Information from the DOE said “the new exams test different content and skills than the state’s old exams tested [thus] the scores cannot be compared.
In 2015, the SBACs replaced the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) in both ELA and math for students in grades 3-8 and 10. Students still take the CMT Science in fifth and eighth grades, and the CAPT Science in 10th grade.
The SBAC tests have been a source of controversy across the country, with many students opting out of taking them this year. In a statement issued Aug. 28, Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) said, “I continue to hear from teachers, parents and students about the significantly more than usual anxiety students are experiencing, the volume of testing and concerns about the loss of instruction time in our classrooms.”
While she agreed it is important to measure a student’s academic growth, she thought the transition to the new tests could have been smoother.
There is now a committee comprised of educators that is looking into many aspects of the test that has yet to report its findings,” she said. “ The Education Committee is certain to review their recommendations and seriously consider any changes that are suggested.  We must work together and reclaim Connecticut’s reputation for top-of-the-nation educational excellence.”
State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) said in a statement, “no effort should be spared to ensure that everyone understands the SBAC’s intended goals and has a framework for interpreting the scores. This is especially critical now, at the start of a new school year. While teachers should ideally be able to use the results constructively, it’s also important that no student or teacher should be held back in their work or enthusiasm by worries or concerns these results might cause.”
Data may be viewed at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/excel/smarterbalanced/settingthebaseline2015.xls.