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Connecticut State Department of Education News


CSDE: Statewide Improvements In Student Achievement On 2017-18 Smarter Balanced Assessment

Promising Increase in Smarter Balanced in Achievement Results for High Needs Students, Alliance Districts and Commissioner’s Network Schools

(Hartford) – The Connecticut State Department of Education today will release the results of the 2017-18 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium which is the accountability assessment in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics for students in Grades 3 through 8. These online assessments have been used in the state since 2014-15 and are aligned to Connecticut’s Core Standards. The complete results for the state, districts and schools, and student groups will be available on the public EdSight portal.

In 2017-18, the statewide average ELA achievement improved in all grades, with over half of students meeting the proficiency benchmark in ELA to 55.3% up from 54.2% in 2016-17. The statewide average Math achievement improved from 2016-17 in all grades to their highest levels, with the percentage of students meeting the proficiency benchmark improved from 45.6% to 46.7%, up from 44.0% in 2015-16. As was the case in 2016-17, 50% of students in Grades 3 and 4 met the proficiency benchmark.

“We are excited to see some really important increases in students meeting or exceeding their achievement benchmark in both ELA and math and especially promising results for those meeting or exceeding the proficiency benchmark in our Alliance Districts and Commissioner’s Network schools,” said Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell. “The improvements in achievement for our most vulnerable student groups and other bright spots statewide are truly encouraging, we must put our energies towards building on this momentum and improving growth scores. We will compile the lessons learned over the last three years, study local practices that may merit further discussion and, of course, get districts and school leaders involved in the conversation around factors that contribute to academic growth for all of our students.”

The achievement improvements in both ELA and mathematics seen among the state’s most vulnerable student groups – especially Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and High Needs - is promising, with ELA achievement for High Needs students increasing from 31.8% in 2015-16 to 33.6% in 2017-18. The High Needs student group also saw an increase in mathematics achievement from 20.4% in 2015-16 to 25% in 2017-18. The achievement improvements in the state’s Alliance Districts and Commissioner’s Network schools are also encouraging. In Alliance Districts, students meeting or exceeding their achievement benchmark in ELA for 2017-18 saw an increase from 35.6% in 2016-17 to 37.2% in 2017-18, while those meeting or exceeding proficiency in mathematics increased from 24.8% in 2015-16 to 28.3% in 2017-18. In Commissioner’s Network schools, students meeting or exceeding their achievement benchmark in ELA and mathematics rose from 21% in 2015-16 to 24.6% in 2017-18 and from 10.3% in 2015-16 to 14.7% in 2017-18, respectively.

Matched cohort growth results are a better indication of curriculum/instructional effectiveness because it evaluates the growth achieved by the same student from one year to the next. This growth is evaluated based on Connecticut’s Smarter Balanced Growth Model. The growth model expects all students to achieve above average growth on the Smarter Balanced scale so that they are on pace to reach higher levels of achievement in future years. On average, students statewide are reaching about 60 percent of their annual growth targets. The ultimate target in the Next Generation Accountability System is that students on average will reach 100% of their targets. As compared to 2016-17, growth in 2017-18 is improved in ELA but unchanged in Mathematics and students show more growth in the lower grades (i.e. grades 4 and 5) than in the upper grades.

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Peter Yazbak
Communications Director