Press Releases


CSDE: 2020-2021 Assessment Data Shows the Positive Effects of In-Person Learning Over Hybrid and Remote Models

Results Highlight Urgent Need for Accelerated Learning Across Subjects, Grades, and Student Groups

(Hartford, CT) – Today, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is releasing results of the 2020-21 statewide assessments. This report provides the first statewide picture of student achievement since the 2018-19 school year.  

Analyses of data from assessments administered in-person revealed: 

  • In all grades and across most student groups, those who learned in-person (more than 75% of days in-person)during the 2020-21 school year lost the least ground academically. 
  • Those who learned in hybrid (between 25% and 75% of days in-person)or remote (less than 25% of days in-person)models showed substantially weaker achievement and growth during the pandemic. 
  • While academic impacts are seen in all subjects, the observed differences are largest in mathematics.  ­

“Students across the board, including those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, are most engaged and learn best when they are in-person with their educators and friends. These results reinforce the State’s continued efforts to ensure students have access to in-person learning in the safest environments possible,” said State Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker. “In addition to addressing students’ academic needs, in-person learning ensures that all of our students have access to the critical supports that schools provide.”  

Additional Key Insights

  • Proficiency rates of students in Grades 5-8, compared to their achievement two grades prior, revealed that achievement in 2020-21 was substantially lower than in 2018-19, especially in math, and especially for those who learned in hybrid or remote models. This pattern is seen for students regardless of high-needs status (i.e., English learner, student with a disability, and/or a student from a low income family) or race/ethnicity. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students experienced the largest gaps in proficiency rates pre- and post-pandemic. Gaps were larger in math than English Language Arts for all student groups. 
  • Students in Grade 3 who learned in-person have higher achievement that is closest to the students who tested in 2018-19, while those who learned in hybrid or remote models reflect lower achievement. Again, the differences are greater in math than English, and this pattern holds true among students with or without high needs. Similar patterns are seen in Grade 4.  
  • The results from the NGSS and the Connecticut SAT School Day assessments, for which students do not have prior scores, also reveal lower achievement among those who learned in hybrid or remote models as compared to those who learned in-person

These data necessitate continued intentional action to support all learners as we embark upon the 2021-2022 school year. Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding will support the state’s and districts’ innovative work already underway to accelerate student learning. CSDE has established the following priorities to guide ESSER investments:  

  • Learning Acceleration, Academic Renewal, and Student Enrichment 
  • Family and Community Connections 
  • Social, Emotional, and Mental Health of Students and of Our School Staff 
  • Strategic Use of Technology, Staff Development, and the Digital Divide Building Safe and Healthy Schools 

While 90 percent of funds were allocated directly to districts, CSDE plans to use the 10-percent state set-aside to support a wide range of projects to improve student achievement and outcomes including, but not limited to: model curricula; online curricula and courses; summer enrichment grants; social, emotional, and mental health supports; high-dosage tutoring; specialized initiatives for English learners and students with disabilities; postsecondary access, adult education, and credit accumulation; and boosting engagement of high school students.  


Date: August 31, 2021 (Embargoed until 12:01 AM on September 1, 2021)




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