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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- Middle school mathematics remains a significant challenge across the state, with just 34% of 8th graders reaching the state goal level.
- 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.
- A small number of school districts, including North Branford, Bethany, Woodbridge, and Weston, showed an improvement in the overall Performance Index before the pandemic.
- To recover, the rates of academic growth for students must increase substantially during the coming years for schools to catch up.