New Canaan sophomores scored significantly higher than the state average across the board in the 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) according to the results released by the State Department of Education. The test scores are split into five levels of performance: below basic; basic; proficient; goal; and advanced.

New Canaan had 98.3 percent of its students reach proficiency levels in math and 96.9 percent in science compared with the state averages of 80.3 percent and 81.7 percent respectively. The differences were similar in other subjects where New Canaan had 98.6 percent in reading and 99.1 percent in writing compared with the state averages of 81.9 percent and 88.6 percent respectively.

The district's proficiency levels are not staggeringly different from the 2010 results with 98.2 percent in math and science and 99.1 percent in reading and writing. The only notable change was a 1.3 percent drop in science.

The comparisons with the state are far more dramatic when discussing the percentage of students reaching the level of goal. New Canaan had 86 percent of their students reach goal in math and 72.2 percent in science while the state average was 49.6 percent and 47.2 percent respectively. New Canaan also had 82 percent reach goal in reading and 90.3 percent in writing compared with the state averages of 44.8 percent and 61.3 percent respectively.

New Canaan also performed well when compared to nearby towns, specifically outperforming Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford in the at goal level. In Greenwich, 71.9 percent of students made goal in math, along with 62.8 percent in science, 67 percent in reading and 81.9 percent in writing.

The urban districts in the area, Stamford and Norwalk, had a significantly lower percentage of students meeting those marks. In Stamford, 37.7 percent of students made goal in math, along with 35 percent in science, 34 percent in reading and 52.2 percent in writing. In Norwalk, 35.2 percent of students made goal in math, along with 32.9 percent in science, 39.6 percent in reading and 51.1 percent in writing.

While not completely outperforming every other town, New Canaan performed favorably when compared with the likes of Westport, Darien and Wilton.

In Wilton, 83.6 percent of students made goal in math, along with 81.4 percent in science, 78.7 percent in reading and 90.2 percent in writing. In Darien, 87.6 percent of students made goal in math, along with 76.4 percent in science, 82.6 percent in reading and 90.8 percent in writing. In Westport, 90.2 percent of students made goal in math, along with 79.0 percent in science, 87.3 percent in reading and 91.5 percent in writing.

Superintendent Dr. David Abbey indicated that while these CAPT scores are good, the district is anxious to also get the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) results to get a big picture analysis.

"For us this is an abbreviated look at one small set of scores," Abbey said. "Each score outcome is obviously important, but we really look at all of them to get a good look at how we did across the board."

Abbey said the CMT results include 20 assessments from grades three through eight that they plan to analyze comprehensively once the scores are released. He explained that curriculum coordinators will be using the date to determine how it will inform instruction and what it could mean for individual students and instruction at different grade levels. As far as CAPT scores go, Abbey remains pleased.

"In terms of the CAPT scores, generally they are solid but certainly there is great room for improvement and we are going to be looking at that."

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