Reform · Standards

State Scorecard Reveals Disparities Among Bridgeport Schools

More than half of Connecticut’s public schools achieved or surpassed the state’s target SPI, according to data released Thursday. Most Bridgeport schools didn’t fair quiet as well—in fact, Bridgeport was among the bottom three districts.

The Student Performance Index, or SPI, is a new accountability system which debuted last year. The state uses SPI to rank schools by boiling down CMT and CAPT scores, as well as high school graduation rates, into a single number. Unlike the previous accountability system, which was mandated by No Child Left Behind, SPI factors in student progress. For example, if a student scores “basic” on the CMTs but then scores “proficient” the next year, the school’s SPI goes up.

The state’s goal SPI is 88 on a 100 point scale. Any school ranked lower than 64, however, is label “review,” “focus” or “turnaround.” These labels indicate a school is in need of improvement.

In Bridgeport, only one school reached the state’s target SPI, and only six scored between 64 and 88. Among the schools scoring 64 or above, only one was not a magnet school (Winthrop School).

These scores reveal a very interesting disparity: while Bridgeport’s charter and magnet schools perform fairly well, the rest, other than a few exceptions, perform poorly.

This is true even for schools around the same area.

For example, Achievement First’s SPI is 76.7. Marin and Barnum Schools, which are both located around the same area as Achievement First, are labeled “turnaround” schools and have SPIs of 35.8 and 43.5, respectively. In fact, Bridgeport’s charter and magnet schools were ranked either “processing” or “transitioning,” the second and third highest ranks.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bryant School had the second lowest score in the state. Seven schools, or 28 percent of the district, were labeled “turnaround,” the lowest rank schools can receive.

There are lessons to be learned here. While many of Bridgeport’s schools suffer from staggeringly low test scores, others are succeeding.

Shouldn’t we look to these models of success as examples to improve schools in need of help?

To view the state’s full SPI database: [Department of Education, SPI Database, 12/5/2013]



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