HartfordTest Scores Rise for the Fifth Straight Year
District Continues to Narrow the Achievement Gap
(Thursday, July 19, 2012) Hartford student performance on the 2012 Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test grew for the fifth consecutive year, according to results released to the district by the State Department of Education.
A total of 29 schools raised their Overall School Index (OSI) above what it was last year. Moreover, 18 of those 29 schools raised their OSI by more than four points, the benchmark, set by the district, that determines whether a school has made truly significant progress.
In another noteworthy development, three more schools – Betances Early Reading Laboratory School, the Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary L. Hooker and the Pathways Academy of Technology and Design – moved up into the Goal Range of schools with an OSI of 70 points or more. There are now 14 schools in the Goal Range, the largest number since Hartford school reform began in the 2006-2007 school year.
Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto, who completed her first year as superintendent on June 30 but played a key role in the district’s reform agenda since its inception, could not help but celebrate the consistency with which Hartford has continued to close the achievement gap.
In five years, our district wide OSI has increased 15.5 points, from 46.7 to 62.2,” Dr. Kishimoto said. “That’s three times the state performance growth rate, solid evidence that the Hartford Public Schools can and will close the achievement gap.”
Betances, the Pre K-3 elementary school led by Principal Immacula Didier that was designed to be the centerpiece of Dr. Kishimoto’s Third Grade Promise initiative, scored the highest increase with an outstanding gain of 35.9 points. Prior to 2012, the highest increase recorded by a Hartford school was 21.8 points.
The Third Grade Promise, the prime goal at Betances, is the district’s commitment to have every child reading at grade level by the time he or she finishes third grade. Research shows that students who achieve that goal have the highest probability of graduating college and having a successful career.
Opportunity High School, under the leadership of Principal Venitia Richardson, recorded the second highest gain with an increase of 13.2 points over last year, followed by West Middle Elementary School, where co-Principals Sheilda Garrison and Lynn Estey’s students registered an 8.8-point increase.
“I was particularly encouraged by the fact that we scored our most significant gains in the middle school grades across all content areas,” Dr. Kishimoto said. “That’s an area we’ve been focusing on with the adoption of new middle years standards and new teaching practices.”
Test results showed major increases in reading in fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth grade. Eighth grade math, science and writing also increased significantly, as did seventh grade writing and fifth grade science. Tenth grade writing continued to display steady gains, as it has throughout the reform.
Dr. Kishimoto offered a special note of praise for the district’s nationally recognized Renzulli Academy program for Gifted Students, which despite already being the highest performing program in Hartford by far, recorded an OSI increase of 6.9 points above its already superlative record.
The Renzulli Academy recruits Hartford resident students from all over the district based on their exceptional scores on the CMT examination. Students must then undergo a rigorous screening process before they are accepted into the program.
“It is truly remarkable how our district continues to surpass expectations,” said Matthew K. Poland, Chair of the Hartford Board of Education. “I want to commend Dr. Kishimoto and her staff for a job well done and thank our students, parents and teachers for their untiring effort. We are a district with a strategic approach to improvement that works.”
The Hartford Public Schools has adopted a portfolio school approach to reform and has a guiding vision to serve as The State Capital’s Portfolio District of Excellence!