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November 2016

District Improvement - One Student at a Time

Superintendent Dr. Marty Semmel

Last spring, third through eighth grade students in Plymouth Public Schools participated in statewide assessments called the Smarter Balanced Assessments. These assessments were designed to reflect the Common Core Standards that were adopted about four years ago. The results reflect any given student’s performance on a single day, and are considered a “snapshot” of academic performance to be analyzed alongside additional sources of data such as classroom performance, projects, tests and other work samples throughout the year. Plymouth staff have been working together to reflect on these results to determine how they can help to inform curriculum, instruction and assessment practices.

Overall we saw great growth with the number of students in the district reaching the proficiency level on these assessments. The percentage of students reaching the proficiency level or higher in language arts increased from 46.3% in 2014-15 to 55.1% in 2015-16 for an increase of 8.8 percentage points. Similarly, in mathematics, students grew 8.5 percentage points from 36.6% proficiency in 2014-15 to 45.1% proficiency in 2015-16. A few key areas of growth are how the sixth and seventh graders grew from year to year in math and the overall performance of the third graders in math and fifth graders in literacy. This level of growth helped us to move up in the rankings of districts with similar economic backgrounds as well as those towns surrounding Plymouth geographically. Additional data shows that Plymouth Public Schools outperformed the magnet schools that most commonly draw students from town in almost all areas. 

Teachers and staff across the district are highly committed to the success of all students. We have made many instructional shifts in the past few years to move students towards authentic and rigorous math and literacy instruction. We will continue to make sure these methods are working and continue to improve upon them. We truly appreciate the level of commitment from the Board of Education and residents in supporting this work and the students as a whole. For additional details and a copy of the full presentation shared with the Board of Education on October 12th, please visit our website at plymouth.k12.ct.us.

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