By Noreen J. O’Mahoney, C.S.W. S.D.A Director, Collaborative Advocacy Associates
The CMTs are given every spring and they are often a source of anxiety, concern and questions for many students and their families. This is especially true for students with learning differences and disabilities. While CMTs are just one indicator of your child’s progress compared not only to themselves year over year, it also gives you valuable information regarding their progress alongside their peers. If those results haven’t arrived already they will shortly, so here’s what you need to know now.
Here’s the official description of the objective behind them:
The Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) is the standard assessment administered to students in Grades 3 through 8. Students are assessed in the content areas of reading, mathematics, writing and science (Grades 5 and 8). Reports of individual student achievement relative to performance standards in each of these content areas are provided to the school districts and parents/guardians of each student tested. The CMT provides information about achievement that is used for many purposes including:
- setting high expectations and standards for student achievement;
- testing a comprehensive range of academic skills;
- disseminating useful test achievement information about students, schools and districts;
- identifying students in need of intervention;
- assessing equitable educational opportunities; and
- monitoring student progress in Grades 3 through 8 over time.
There are options regarding the type of CMT your student can take, including a Modified version known as the MAS, or if necessary a CMT checklist can be completed by your child’s teacher. A decision about what version your child will take is made at the annual review PPT each year and noted on your child’s IEP.
Today, this high stakes testing and the subsequent results are under scrutiny and review. The State is considering finding an alternative to the CMTs in the years ahead but for now we have these as a guidepost for assessing student’s skills across the state.
While many of us believe it is not give as individualized a picture of your child as achieved through one to one testing, it certainly is a powerful indicator and the results each fall should be reviewed carefully.
We advise that you review the results you will be receiving this month and note any concerns about your child’s progress. Each of the areas of concern/weaknesses are indicated on the scoring sheets. The back page of your child’s report compares their scores to average scores for students within your district and statewide. It also has a bar graph of your child’s progress year over year.
Any areas of concern should be addressed as part of your child’s general education plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP). If the identified areas are not being remediated, be sure to discuss these areas of weakness with your child’s teacher, and/or your advocate. If you have concerns after reviewing the results and your child’s program, please contact us ASAP so we can help you be sure each area of concern is being appropriately addressed.