Elementary and middle school students who took the Connecticut Mastery Test earlier this year continue to score well above state averages, according to the results released July 20.

Students in third through eighth grades, which are the six years measured by the CMT, were scored at five performance levels, including below basic, basic, proficient, goal and advanced.

In New Canaan, the results for each discipline -- mathematics, reading, writing and science -- were within the goal or advanced performance level. In fact, every grade's math scores were in the advanced level.

Students also demonstrated improvement in math over last year's scores in nearly every grade, except seventh, where the percentage of students dropped slightly in proficiency from 91.9 percent in 2011 to 90.3 percent in 2012.

Although the administration is just beginning to analyze the data to compare New Canaan with similar towns' scores, Superintendent Mary Kolek said she was very pleased with the students' performance levels.

"If you look at our reading scores," Kolek said as an example, "those have really been at the top of the states for, I think, six years."

New Canaan's greatest reading gains from 2011 to 2012 were in fifth grade, with 3.4 percent more students at or above proficiency and 2.8 percent more at or above goal. Sixth grade, however, had declining percentages in reading. The amount of students at or above proficiency level fell 5.9 percent and those at or above goal level fell 7.8 percent from 2011.

The average scale score, which ranges from 100 to 400 and determines the performance level of the grade, decreased by 12.4 points. This brought sixth grade to the goal level.

Despite these declines, all grades tested significantly higher in reading than the rest of the state, confirming Kolek's observation.

"You have to look at growth scores instead of performance scores," she said.

There was no significant fluctuation in the percentage of students' writing performance, but the sixth grade's average scale score increased by 15.5 points. This raised the grade to the advanced level.

Science, which is only tested in fifth and eighth grades, also saw an insignificant amount of fluctuation. Both grades showed declining results from 2011 to 2012 and fifth grade scored higher on average than eighth grade by nearly 12 points each year.

Mary Beth Wilson, assistant superintendant for curriculum and instruction, said the results were quite strong.

"And I think that reflects the work that goes on in the district," she said.

tmichael@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; www.twitter.com/tmichael89

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