Connecticut’s two annual assessments of student achievement showed a mix of gains and retreats in 2013, according to results released Tuesday by the State Department of Education.

The Connecticut Academic Performance Test showed improvements in math, science and reading and a decline in writing scores, while students scored lower in all elements of the Connecticut Mastery Test.

The department delayed the release of the results after discovering errors on its School Performance Rating website, which no longer is accessible to the public.

The “assessment data released today was independently verified by an external auditor,” the department said.

Stefan Pryor, the commissioner of education, put a positive spin on the results, noting that scores show solid gains from the base year of 2007 for CAPT and 2006 for CMT.

He also said that troubled schools accepted into the Commissioner’s Network, which provides support for chronically struggling schools, showed improvement.

“We are encouraged by the bright spots, especially gains on the CAPT test and in the Commissioner’s Network this year, though it remains clear that major work lies ahead to ensure that each student is prepared for success in college and career,” Pryor said.

The first schools admitted to the network in 2012 were Curiale in Bridgeport, Milner in Hartford, Stanton in Norwich and High School in the Community in New Haven. 

The department said it expected scores in these schools to initially decrease “as comprehensive and disruptive turnaround initiatives were implemented,” but the results for the first year were “largely positive.”

The percentage of students scoring at or above goals increased in each of the four network schools in a majority of areas, with more analysis expected in coming weeks, the department said.

The release of the CAPT and CMT scores is used to track annual progress in schools across the state.

The department describes CAPT as assessing students on their “integration and application of skills in the academic content areas of mathematics, reading across the disciplines, writing across the disciplines, and science in the 10th grade.”

The results from the test administered in March 2007 provide a baseline for examining student performance statewide over seven years.

The department describes the CMT as assessing students on their “application of skills and knowledge in the academic content areas of mathematics, reading, and writing in Grades 3 through 8, and science in Grades 5 and 8.”  

The administration of the CMT in March 2006 serves as a baseline year for examining changes in student performance.

Results for individual schools and districts are available online at

Individual student results will go to parents in September.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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