Data from the 2022-2023 Next Generation Accountability System, recently released by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), shows students continue to fall below targeted levels for performance and proficiency in a variety of subjects.
The results also show year-over-year improvement in some measured categories, including chronic absenteeism and postsecondary readiness. However, data from school years affected from the COVID-19 pandemic are not included in results, making it difficult to gauge how well student performance has recovered.
Per the CSDE, the accountability system measures school and school district performance over 12 broad indicators. “This system moves beyond test scores and graduation rates to provide a more holistic perspective of district and school performance,” CDSE noted in a press release accompanying the results.
The current school year results show a failure to hit targets across indexes measuring students’ performance in English language arts (ELA), math, and science. Each category, which is broken down into performance for all students and for high needs students, falls below the target of 75 points.
Across all students, the performance index was highest in ELA, scoring 42.6 out of 50 points available. Math performance was next highest, earning 39.8 points out of 50 and performance in science scored the lowest—34.1 out of 50.
Among high needs students, performance was highest in science, earning 34.1 of 50 points, and lowest in math, earning 32.6 of 50 points. The ELA performance rate among high rate students was 36.1.
Since the 2017-2018 school year, the performance index in ELA has decreased, both for all students and high needs students. It has grown in both categories in math and among all students in science. But performance in science has decreased for high needs students.
The index also measures the average percentage of growth target hit by students in ELA and math, which has decreased across the board across the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 school years. The results do not include data for either the 2012-2020 or 2020-2021 school years.
In ELA, the average percentage of growth target achieved has fallen from 60.7 percent in 2017-2018 to 57.2 percent in 2022-2023. Among high needs students, it has fallen from 55.6 percent to 52.5 percent during the same time period.
In math, the average percentage of the growth target achieved across all students has decreased from 61.9 percent in 2017-2018 to 61.8 percent in 2022-2023. That value has also decreased from the 2021-2022 school year, when the percentage of growth target achieved stood at 65.2 percent.
Among high needs students, the value has grown slightly between 2017-2018 and 2022-2023, improving from 55.4 percent to 55.5 percent. However, that value has fallen since the previous school year. In 2021-2022, 59.1 percent of high needs students achieved the growth target.
Other indicators the index measures include chronic absenteeism and postsecondary preparation.
The results show chronic absenteeism has declined between the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school year, after increasing significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2018-2019 school year, the chronic absenteeism rate was 10.4 percent among all students and 16.1 percent among high needs students. It increased to 23.7 percent during 2021-2022 for all students and to 34 percent for high needs students. For this school year, the rate remains higher than prior to the pandemic but chronic absenteeism levels have fallen to 20 percent for all students and 28.5 percent for high needs students.
““The improvements seen this past year in chronic absenteeism, math, science, and postsecondary readiness scores have inspired us to intensify our focus on the initiatives underway to accelerate recovery and exceed pre-pandemic levels on all indicators,” CSDE Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker said in a press release.
The index also shows an increase in postsecondary readiness for students in grades 11 and 12, which the CSDE said is the result of more students in those grades taking college preparatory classes worth three or more credits prior to graduation. The department expects the number of students earning college credits to continue increasing following the expansion of a dual credit grant program this year.