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October 24, 2017

New Achievement Growth Scores Reveal Alarming Trends

On Tuesday, September 12, the Connecticut State Department of Education released complete results of the Smarter Balanced Achievement (SBAC) test for the 2016-2017 school year. Preliminary, top-level results were released in August. This marks the second year the state has released SBAC growth data. A ConnCAN analysis of these results shows system-wide declines in growth and signs of a fast-approaching crisis in student preparedness.

The test measures performance on benchmarks of progress toward college and career readiness standards in math and English Language Arts (ELA) for all students in grades 3-8. The new growth data released on Tuesday show how many students have met their targets for progress toward college and career readiness standards. The data also show how close students are to meeting their targets, or growth goals, toward these standards. These results paint a troubling picture.

Of 186 school districts in Connecticut reporting data, ConnCAN’s analysis revealed: 

  • Only four districts in the state where the average student is approaching her or his growth target in English Language Arts. 
     
  • Only 18 districts in the state where the average student is approaching her or his growth target in math.  
     
  • These growth data show that not only are fewer students meeting their growth targets, students are also further away from their goals than last year. In other words, already slow progress appears to be backsliding. 
     
  • These discouraging trends hold across every student category: race, ethnicity, poverty, and language learner status. 
     

In response, ConnCAN’s CEO, Jennifer Alexander, said:

Connecticut’s economy is in crisis, and our education system has to be part of the solution. These results should be a wake-up call. Unless major changes are made quickly, Connecticut students will leave high school unprepared to enter college or the workforce. 

In two years, more than 70 percent of jobs in the state will require at least some postsecondary education. Delivering a high-quality public education to every child in Connecticut is essential for ensuring a prosperous future. For our students and our state to be able to compete in a global economy, we need more students making more progress at a faster rate.

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