School Performance Index: Nearly All Branford Public Schools Below "Goal"

Only one Branford School is performing above "Goal" under the new state measurement.

How are Branford schools performing in recent years and what's expected of them?

The CT State Department of Education has announced the launch of an online database to provide information on school performance according to their recent press release.  The website provides the School Performance Index (or “SPI”) and the graduation rate (for high schools), two measurements central to Connecticut’s new school accountability and support system, according to the release.

“The state’s new school accountability and support framework enables more precise, more helpful snapshots of school performance,” Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor states in the news release. “By heralding schools making significant progress and highlighting schools in need of greater support, the system will also help districts and the state focus our efforts where they are needed most.”

According to the database, which has SPI measurements for all Branford schools over the past three years as well as a target SPI for this year, Mary R. Tisko School is performing the best. The SPI for Tisko is a 92.4 average over three years (highest being 100). CT State Department of Education is setting a target to "maintain" that number for Tisko according to the database. 

Branford High School's SPI has shown a steady decline since 2009 from having an SPI of 86.3 to currently having an SPI of 80.3.; their target is 83.

John B. Sliney School has show a steady rise over three years and is averaging at 80.2 with a target of 80.8 for 2012-13. 

Mary T. Murphy students have shown a steady increase over the past three years growing from 73.4 to 79.2. 

Francis Walsh Intermediate School studnets have maintained and average of 87.4 over the past three years. 

A SPI of 33 means, on average students are performing at the ‘basic’ level across all tests they take, the state metric explains. An SPI of 67 means students are performing at the ‘proficient’ level and an SPI of 88 students are at ‘goal’ level on the majority of tests they take. 

"A school’s SPI—an average of student performance in all tested grades and subjects for a given school—allows for the evaluation of school performance across all tested grades, subjects and performance levels on the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT)," the release states.  "The SPI and graduation rates are among the inputs for the new school classifications – including Schools of Distinction, Turnaround Schools, Focus Schools, and Review Schools – announced by the Connecticut State Department of Education last week."

According to the release, the state was able to get a federal application for a waiver from certain aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) enabling the new school accountability and support system to use the SPI and graduation rates.   "The new system improves upon NCLB’s less flexible approach by incorporating student growth and performance across all levels (rather than merely tracking the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level, an approach that masked school progress with students at other performance levels); integrating Science and Writing (rather than merely focusing on Mathematics and Reading); and raising expectations for schools to address achievement gaps between students subgroups," the release states.

"The development of the school performance reporting system is an evolving process," the press release explained.  "Enhancements will be made in the future..."

Information from the above news release comes from the state Department of Education.


SchoolParticipation rate 
(2011-2012)Baseline SPI 
(Three-year avg.)SPI performance target 
(2012-2013) BRANFORD HIGH SCHOOL 100.0%
86.3 81.1 80.3 82.6 83.0 FRANCIS WALSH INTERM 100.0% 87.0 87.8 87.5 87.4 87.5 JOHN B SLINEY SCH 100.0% 79.4 79.5 81.5 80.2 80.8 MARY R TISKO SCH 100.0% 92.0 92.8 92.5 92.4 Maintain MARY T MURPHY SCH 100.0% 73.4 75.8 79.2 76.1 77.1

bball fan December 14, 2012 at 01:30 PM
And that is what "teaching to the test" will get you. Branford does it all through the grade school years and the kids don't actually "learn" anything. They just absorb info and spit it out when they are given these standardized tests. They are not challenged to think and develop common sense. I have 3 kids in the system and it is amazing at what little common knowledge they possess. Stuff I learned and still remember from 6th grade, my high schooler is clueless about.
Andrew L. Carrano December 14, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Don't be confused by results from standardized tests. Branford scored "high proficient" on a test that measured a narrow range of knowledge. Perhaps Branford students are learning other valuable skills that are not measured by these tests, like social skills and creativity, which are just as important. Lower scores on CMTs may be a positive sign and we'll only know down the road when we see how our kids turn out as adults. So far I'm pleased as my children are in their 30's and they and their friends are great. I've been an educator for over 35 years and I'm not worried about the Branford School System. Andy
bball fan December 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Wait a minute. Now all of a sudden you want us to believe low CMT scores are a good thing? All I heard, and saw, as a parent for years, from teachers, is that the kids were being taught to the test. Now, because they can't even do that with desired results, the BOE is going to try to tell us that it's a good thing, and we'll wait 20 years to see how they turn out. WOW. Good to know our kids are basically guinea pigs for teachers to figure out how to teach. How about we go back to the good old days of just teaching kids the basics and a lot of hands on work. Make them read books not just in the summer, and teach them how to write reports and think for themselves. Teach math without calculators. MAke them know the 50 states and capitals. My child was an honor student at the HS and when he got to college, he was so unprepared on how to write a college paper. The cost of education keeps going up, but the results do not seem to be in step with the costs. There is no accountability.
Andrew L. Carrano December 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I am trying to respond but not getting through. Just testing the system. If this goes through I will write my full response again. Andy
Andrew L. Carrano December 14, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I don't believe the BOE is agreeing with my opinions. Please don't confuse me with another Carrano. I am only saying that CMTs are not the only measure of success, nor is education solely responsible for the success and happiness of an individual. We are more complex than that. Creativity and social skills may be far more important than whether you can write a college paper. Your child will probably do well because after his time at Branford High School he did attend college , and he/she has a good parent who is concerned. Those who feel test scores are an end all are misquided. Andy


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