(Hartford, CT) – Today, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is releasing results from the 2021-22 Next Generation Accountability System—a system where schools and districts earn points on a broad set of 12 indicators that help tell the story of how well a school is preparing its students for success in college, careers, and life. The system moves beyond test scores and graduation rates to provide a more holistic, multifactor perspective of district and school performance and incorporates student growth over time.
Today’s results build on the CSDE’s August 25 release of state assessment results, which showed some signs of learning acceleration, but that student achievement still lagged pre-pandemic levels. The accountability results show that in addition to academic achievement, other indicators such as chronic absenteeism, on-track to high school graduation, postsecondary entrance, and physical fitness also lag pre-pandemic levels. Indicators such as academic growth, high school graduation, and arts access show increases.
Table 1: Statewide Trend of Next Generation Accountability Results
ELA Performance Index – All Students
ELA Performance Index – High Needs Students
Math Performance Index – All Students
Math Performance Index – High Needs Students
Science Performance Index – All Students
Science Performance Index – High Needs Students
ELA Avg. Percentage of Growth Target Achieved – All Students
ELA Avg. Percentage of Growth Target Achieved – High Needs Students
Math Avg. Percentage of Growth Target Achieved – All Students
Math Avg. Percentage of Growth Target Achieved – High Needs Students
Progress Toward English Proficiency – Literacy
Progress Toward English Proficiency – Oral
Chronic Absenteeism – All Students
Chronic Absenteeism – High Needs Students
On-track to High School Graduation
4-year Graduation – All Students
6-year Graduation – High Needs Students
These accountability results confirm the broader impact of the pandemic on other student outcomes. Chronic absenteeism was more than twice the pre-pandemic levels. The percentage of ninth graders on track to graduate high school in four years declined by more than five percentage points after the pandemic, as the standard to be on track has also increased from earning five to six credits in ninth grade.
The percentage of students enrolling in college within one year after high school graduation (Enrolled First Year Rate in figure below) has declined significantly for students who graduated high school during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. This is especially true for those from low-income families.
Figure 1: Postsecondary Outcomes
The percentage of students reaching the Health Fitness Zone Standard in all four areas of the Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment declined by seven percentage points with the largest decline (8.5 percentage points) evidenced in the aerobic capacity assessments.
Table 2: Physical Fitness Assessment Results Percentage Reaching Health Standard (%)
Curl Up (Abdominal Strength)
Mile Run/PACER (Aerobic Capacity)
Push Up (Upper Body Muscle Strength)
Sit and Reach (Flexibility)
One part of the Accountability System involves the identification of schools that qualify for intensive state support. With this release, the CSDE is identifying 11 new Turnaround schools for comprehensive support and improvement due to their consistently low overall performance, bringing the total number of Turnaround schools to 40. The CSDE is also identifying nine new Focus schools for a consistently underperforming student group bringing the total number of Focus schools to 32. All Turnaround and Focus schools are eligible to seek to join the Commissioner’s Network, apply for School Improvement Grant funding when available, and access CSDE resources and professional learning experiences for school improvement.
Amid these results are some promising signs. In its August 25 release, the CSDE shared that state assessment results show some signs of learning acceleration. The CSDE is identifying 129 Schools of Distinction for high overall performance (66 schools) and/or high academic growth (100 schools); 35 of these 129 schools are in Alliance Districts.
The accountability results also indicate that dual credit opportunities, where students earn three or more nonremedial college credits while in high school, have the potential to accelerate postsecondary readiness for all students. Such dual credit opportunities where students take college courses while in high school (which is now included in Indicator 6 of the accountability system) have been found in research to have positive effects on students’ college access and enrollment, credit accumulation, and college degree attainment. In Connecticut, many public and private higher education institutions partner with high schools to offer such dual credit opportunities. The CSDE is most appreciative of the dual credit data it received from the following public and private colleges/universities: the University of Connecticut’s Early College Experience (ECE) program; the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system of four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College; Albertus Magnus College; Connecticut College; Goodwin University; Post University; Quinnipiac University; University of Bridgeport; University of Hartford; University of New Haven; University of Saint Joseph; and Wesleyan University. These data (see table 3 below) illustrate that the dual credit option allows all students, including students of color and those with high needs, to demonstrate postsecondary readiness. Dual credit offers a rigorous alternative to traditional test-based measures of postsecondary readiness like the SAT or ACT or Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB); moreover, students who successfully complete dual credit courses earn credits on a college transcript. Dual credit offerings can help students chart pathways in high school that position them for success in their postsecondary pursuits.
Table 3: Indicator 6 State Results, 2021-22
Percentage of 11th and 12th Grade Students Meeting a Postsecondary Readiness
Total – N
“The data released today show similar trends with our statewide summative assessments as well as national assessment releases. To stem the broad effects of the pandemic and accelerate recovery, we have been proactive in leveraging the wide array of COVID relief funds to implement numerous initiatives at the state and local levels” said Commissioner Russell-Tucker. “The transparent release of these data will enable us to target our support where it is needed the most, work collaboratively with school-family-community partners, and identify strategies that may need to be diffused more widely across our great state to maximize outcomes.”
The CSDE has been monitoring many of these indicators on an ongoing basis over the past three years and has already taken several proactive steps. In its August 25 release, the CSDE detailed several investments to further advance learning acceleration and equity of access in academic recovery, including summer enrichment programs, high-quality K-8 model curricula, a Science of Reading (SOR) Masterclass, Smarter Balanced and science interim assessments, the Connecticut Behavioral Health Pilot, grant programs to add additional school mental health staff, the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP), supports for children and youth experiencing homelessness, after-school programs, and special education recovery activities. The CSDE will also be awarding small districts (those with fewer than 1,000 students) that have experienced significant declines in achievement through the pandemic with access to a grant program to receive funds for learning acceleration and academic recovery.
In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, the CSDE has been implementing several activities through the pandemic to reverse these trends, including efforts to increase FAFSA completion, a community of practice around student attendance called Talk Tuesdays, and a new effort to systematize and increase dual credit opportunities for students across the state. To support the development of a well-rounded, physically active lifestyle, the CSDE is working with practitioners in the field and strengthening its partnership with CAS/CIAC to support school districts in the robust implementation of the physical education standards and skill-building in lifelong physical activity and fitness.
In past years, the CSDE has facilitated the sharing of best practices through publications such as Voices from the Field and Reimagining the Possibilities and in-person events such as the annual Performance Matters Forum. It is more important than ever for us to learn from each other. To this end, the CSDE is planning a showcase designed to feature the promising practices in schools earning School of Distinction status, National Blue Ribbon School awards, and other indicators of success.
For Immediate Release: December 8, 2022
Eric Scoville, Director of Communications
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