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First Look - ERN CT Special Update on State Assessment Data

Yesterday, the Connecticut State Department of Education published the results of the 2021-22 Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). The SBAC, Connecticut's standardized, statewide test in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math, provides longitudinal data to help track student achievement in districts and the state. Unfortunately, the data confirm the fears of many about the impact of the pandemic on students’ academic experiences in Connecticut over the last two years.

As the data above show, across all grades, Connecticut saw a dramatic reduction in the percentages of students who are meeting or exceeding expectations—a fact that holds true in both ELA and Math. In the 2018-19 school year, for example, 54.3% of third graders met or exceeded expectations in ELA. In 2021, only 46.7% of third graders met that same benchmark. Similarly, in 2018-19, 43.5% of eighth graders met or exceeded expectations in Math, now down to a sobering 34.3% in 2021-22.

While the outcomes are troubling—it is noteworthy that they are available as a result of the Connecticut State Department of Education’s staunch commitment to administering the SBAC and transparently publishing student performance data. In 2020, after missing a single year's administration of the test when schools were shuttered, Connecticut’s fidelity to administering the SBAC has remained steadfast. This information is vital to educators, families, and policymakers because it provides sunlight on what is and isn’t working well for all students.

In response to yesterday’s release, ERN CT State Director Amy Dowell said, “Maintaining the SBAC during such a difficult time, and offering transparency on their results, are so very important. The data make clear that there is tremendous work to be done for the benefit of the state’s students. The priorities must be increased resources, innovation, research-based interventions, and high academic standards in every district.”

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the data next week.


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