NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New standardized test scores show that the lingering impact of two years of disrupted education due to the COVID-19 pandemic has left public school students of all backgrounds struggling to catch up, state Department of Education officials said Thursday.

“We still have a lot of work to do to accelerate the learning for all students in Connecticut,’’ said Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker.

Here’s what you need to know about test scores in public schools in Connecticut:

  1. Student achievement across the board continues to lag after the pandemic with a decline in proficiency between 6 and 8 points in English and language arts and math, and 4 points in science as measured by the Performance Index, an overall average of scores from a variety of assessments.

  2. In the cities and among low-income children and students of color, the achievement gap remains alarming. For example, the Performance Index score for English and language arts for New Haven 3rd graders shows a 15 percent decline since the 2017-2018 school year. In the neighboring suburb of Woodbridge, scores increased slightly.

  3. The state and school districts are spending tens of millions of dollars to assist students, including summer learning, after-school programs, and initiatives to improve mental health.

  4. Achievement for students in 4th grade – a critical year for learning to read – remains at a crisis level in the state’s poorest cities. Just 18% of 4th graders in Hartford reached state goals for English and language arts on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, far below the state average of 49%.

  5. Middle school mathematics remains a significant challenge across the state, with just 34% of 8th graders reaching the state goal level.

  6. State educators say there are some positive signs for most students in grades 4 through 8, with academic growth in grades increasing at a faster rate during the 2021-22 school year than during the 2018-19 year.

  7. A small number of school districts, including North Branford, Bethany, Woodbridge, and Weston, showed an improvement in the overall Performance Index before the pandemic.

  8. To recover, the rates of academic growth for students must increase substantially during the coming years for schools to catch up.