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Achievement Gap at Fitch High School ‘Disgraceful’, School Board Member Says

High School Principal says scores won't improve unless more administrators are hired to oversee teaching.

Few than 25 percent of black students at Fitch High School scored at the state’s goal in any academic subject on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test in 2012, in some cases scoring more than 20 percentage points below overall student performance.

Low-income students, or those receiving free or reduced meals, scored slightly better than black students, but also well below their peers.

“This is truly a disgrace to those kids at that high school,” School Board Member Beverly Washington said Monday, after hearing a summary from High School Principal Joseph Arcarese.

Washington asked what he planned to do about it.

Evaluating teachers

Arcarese said he doesn't have enough administrators to go into classrooms, and scores will never improve unless he has department heads or deans to enter classrooms and assess teaching.

“So you’re telling me that the teachers that we have now . . .  are you saying they’re not doing as well as they should be doing because there’s no one in that classroom evaluating them?” Washington asked.

Arcarese said yes, that was what he meant.

“The doors are shut, things happen, they do what they want to do,” he said. Arcarese said Fitch High School has many great teachers, but like in all schools, there are some that need extra supervision and help.

The CAPT is a standardized test given statewide to tenth graders to assess their performance in math, reading, writing and science.

Results showed that Fitch improved in every subject over its three-year average prior to 2012, but that it remains below the state average in every subject except math.

Weak performance

Black students showed the weakest performance.

For example, 17.4 percent of black students scored at goal or better in math, 15.4 percent scored at goal or better in reading, and 13.8 percent scored at goal or better in science.

By comparison, 43.6 percent of students overall scored at goal or better in math, 39.4 percent scored at goal or better in reading and 41.4 percent scored at goal or better in science.

Students receiving free and reduced lunch also scored well below their peers. Scores showed 21.7 percent of low-income students scored at goal or better in math, 20.1 percent scored at goal or better in reading, and 20 percent scored at goal or better in science.

Students scored better across the board in writing, but still well below the state average.

Sean Blais November 03, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Hello my name is sean blais us and I am a black student at Robert E Fitch high school seeing what is come of our school and the scores produced by our students is disheartening to me. I see the young men and women in our school everyday and many of them are not motivated to pursue an education. In middle school I was the same way and didn't realize the importance of an education until late in my freshman year at Fitch. I have struggled to learn how to study and retain information; but the task at hand is not an impossible one. Through years of hard work I have gradually increased my grades. We all have potential to succeed but some of us need different kinds of help to get there. For many students at Fitch the solution may just be having somebody at home that motivated them to strive for self improvement. One thing is for sure though : there I hope for the future of these very students that recently scored so low on the capt test. Lets get to work!
Sean Blais November 03, 2012 at 12:24 AM
My name is sean blais* and there is*
Rick McDonald November 04, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Good answer, instead of addressing why evaluations take so long lets just hire more assistants. The educations budget is already over 70 million, many Groton tax payers are already at their financial limits. There are ways to resolve the evaluation issue without spending more money. Why is the answer always more money?
Jason Morris February 04, 2013 at 06:27 PM
ctreports.com to find all that info
Jason Morris February 04, 2013 at 06:33 PM
do some research in the legitimacy of the tests and their scores. ask questions like: do they match curriculum? what do they actually measure? what DON'T they measure? how to students "prepare" for these tests? do they effect their final grade? how are the costs of giving these tests effecting budgets? and once you get those answers...i'm pretty sure your next question will be: why the hell are we putting so much weight on the results of these tests to the point where we are (due to 2012 legislation) making them be 22.5% of all educator's evaluations, we're intervening in school districts from the state, we're disproportionally supporting charter schools over public schools, and so many other things...just because a standardized test said so?

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