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Posts tagged ‘CMT’

PEAC Acts on Teachers’ Concerns: Mastery Exam Results Cannot Be Used in Evaluations

CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, who both serve on PEAC, said mastery tests are not designed for the evaluation of teachers or administrators.

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) yesterday took a giant step forward in addressing teachers’ concerns regarding the use of state mastery examination results in teacher evaluations. PEAC defined the clear use and purpose of the state mastery exam, agreeing that it should not be used to evaluate teachers.

PEAC unanimously agreed to recommend new guidelines for educator support and evaluation programs to the State Board of Education. These new guidelines support the use of state mastery test scores to inform educator goal setting and to inform professional development planning, but prohibit their use as a measure of goal attainment or in the calculation of the summative rating for an educator. Read more

2013 CMT and CAPT Scores Released Today

Read the story from the Hartford Courant and find out how your district scored here.

Much to Be Proud of as Teachers Head Back to School

Children getting on a school busAs you head back to school this week and next, please keep in mind all of the great things you and your colleagues accomplish every day.

Connecticut’s achievement gap is a serious issue, but focusing exclusively on the gap ignores all of the growth and successes happening in our public schools.

CMT data shows that, statewide, two out of three students score at goal and four out of five score at proficient.  All students have made steady gains over time, with African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students making some of the biggest gains and making a real impact on narrowing the achievement gap.  You and your students are working hard and it shows.

CMT math scores for all grades show that Connecticut students scoring at proficient increased from 79% to 86% overall. In reading, Connecticut students in all grades scoring at proficient increased from 74% to 80% overall.

On the CAPT, 80% to 89% of Connecticut grade 10 stu­dents are at or above proficient in 2010. Among Connecticut African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students, performance growth is three times greater than statewide growth in math and twice as great for reading and writing, trimming the size of the achievement gap.

Test scores have their uses, but the most important successes are the ones you witness when a child’s eyes light up and they “get it.”  What has been going well in your classroom? Please share your and your students’ successes and your hopes for the year to come in the comments.  Best wishes for a great year!

CMT Results Released Today

Connecticut Mastery Test results were released this morning – complete results can be found here.

Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan said, “This year’s test results show that from 2006 to 2010, there is a positive trend of improved student achievement across all six grades and academic disciplines, which is encouraging.  Our students are performing better, but challenges remain.”  Read the complete press release from the Connecticut State Department of Education.

The Connecticut Mirror had  a piece this morning on how the CMTs have shaped public education across the state over the last twenty-five years.  Read it here.

CMT Preparations: What’s Your School Doing?

Dawn Darche (second from right), Sterling Education Association president, and Vince Agostine, principal, with eighth grade students from Sterling Community School. Red wrist bands were given to students and staff members who committed to being Rested, Relaxed and Ready! at a pep rally held Monday, February 22.

Teachers are focusing on much more than academics as they prepare to administer tests.  They’re tending to their students’ nutrition, enthusiasm, confidence, and desire to excel in countless ways. That’s what CEA has heard from members in recent days.

And we’d like to hear from you about what you have been doing in your school. You too probably lead activities similar to the ones mentioned below. Join your colleagues in celebrating each other’s work because you’re certainly giving your all!

Rigorous academic preparation
During vacation week some schools held CMT boot camps.  One school is holding a TechWeek this week for CMT prep awareness.  Every student in grades six through eight is able to use a technology-based learning environment each day.

The four grade level teachers become experts in one kind of “technology” and the students rotate through.  For example: day 1 – TI84 Navigator quiz and review, day 2 – SMARTBoard Jeopardy, day 3 – web-based tutorials, day 4 – blogging about your learning.  All of the classes are geared toward specific strands on the CMT.   Students had previously discussed their own learning needs with their teachers and are able to pick websites that are targeted to those needs.

Involving parents
Schools involve parents in test preparation whenever possible.  Some schools host parent nights that give an opportunity for parents to ask questions and for teachers to go over the CMT schedule.  Many send letters home to parents asking them to limit absences and make sure their children get a good night’s sleep and proper nutrition.

Pep rallies
Many schools around Connecticut are holding pep rallies and assemblies this week in preparation for the CMT.  Here are some of the activities that schools include in their pep rallies:

  • Awards are given to students who did well last year – both for high scores and improved scores.
  • T-shirts are thrown to the students.
  • Teachers perform a CMT rap.
  • Students learn about being Rested, Relaxed, and Ready!
  • Students view video clips about test preparation.
  • If students commit to taking specific actions, homeroom teachers give them a red wrist band to serve as a daily reminder.
  • Student council and some teachers put on a brief, humorous skit that focuses on being Rested, Relaxed, and Ready and nutritious eating during CMT testing.
  • Lower grade students write letters of support for third and fourth graders.
  • CMTs are renamed “Celebrate My Talents.”
  • A dance routine created by a reading specialist is performed by some third and fourth graders.
  • Students sing a CMT song written by the school’s music teacher.
  • A poetry contest is held ahead of time for third and fourth graders – they have to include encouragement for the CMTs in their poems.  Prizes include gift certificates to an upcoming book fair, and winners read their poems during the assembly.
  • Students view a slide show of third and fourth graders working on various aspects of CMT skills.
  • The entire student body participates in a CMT cheer.
  • On stage the principal presents each third and fourth grader with a special memento to remind them to do their best on the test.
  • Students sing the  school song and other songs adapted with new lyrics about reading, math, and test taking.
  • A silly skit is preformed that gives advice on how to be successful on the test.
  • Students perform the school cheer and special math and writing cheers.
  • Well wishes made up by each teacher are read to the student body.

During test days
Schools also have lots of special activities to encourage students during test days.  These include:

  • Organizing a breakfast for all students on days when they take mastery tests. The Board of Education pays for the food and various organizations and individuals pitch in.  There is no breakfast program at the school normally.
  • One school will have “fairy godmothers” spreading “fairy dust” in the form of reading strategies.
  • On test days students will receive small prizes when they are on time and in their seats for the start of the test.
  • Captain Writing (assistant principal on roller blades) will make an appearance in each third and fourth grade room.  Each student will be given a magical writing pencil and pencil sharpener.
  • Kids are given raffle tickets if they meet certain requirements and a daily winner is chosen.  After the CMT is complete, each school has a celebration.
  • Each test day students receive an encouraging note (written by a different teacher each day) with a little gift, such as a new pencil, pack of Smarties, or eraser.
  • Incentives are offered to the groups with the best attendance and those who use all the time available to answer questions and check them over.   A school wide goal is to increase the percent of attendance from last year (the school found that students in attendance the day of the test do better than those who take make-up tests).

What has your school been doing to prepare for the CMT or CAPT?  Share in the comments.

CMT Scores Released Today

Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) scores,  released this morning, show elementary and middle school students gaining at nearly every level for 2009.

The CMT is administered to  students in grades three through eight every March and tests math, reading, writing and science. This year the 15 school districts Connecticut has identified as low-achieving all showed improvement on the CMTs.

“Our students are performing better each year, but challenges remain,” Education Commissioner Mark K. McQuillan said in announcing the scores.

Tenth graders, however, turned in a less than stellar performance, with scores dropping slightly in writing, math and science. Students in 10th grade take the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, not the CMT.

Merritt, Grace E.  Scores Show Improvement Statewide On Connecticut Mastery Test. Hartford Courant. 29 July 2009.