New Haven, Connecticut – Today, August 3, 2016, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released the results of the first administration of Connecticut SAT School Day, in which all 11th grade public school students took the newly redesigned SAT. This was part of a statewide effort to eliminate testing burden and increase equity by replacing the statewide assessment with the college entrance exam. In response to the release of the results, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:
“Simply put, these results aren’t good enough. But they are not surprising either. Connecticut can do so much better for its students. The SAT results highlight two major problems in our state: first, that we have made little improvement addressing our massive gaps in achievement—whether you’re comparing the performance of low-income students or students of color to their peers. Second, we have failed to make the systemic changes that are necessary to produce real, measurable improvement.
“For years now, Connecticut has had one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, as demonstrated by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. These SAT results are yet another dataset in a long stream of tests that continue to identify a serious problem with public education in our state. In fact, last year’s 2015 Smarter Balanced (SBAC) results showed similar trends across the state: wide gaps in achievement across economic and racial lines. It seems like, no matter which data you choose, these gaps jump out as a problem. Make no mistake: the failure to close these gaps is not reflective of these students’ abilities; rather, it is a systemic failure.
“The SAT results released today also indicate a worrisome trend about Connecticut’s math instruction, a trend that was mirrored by last year’s SBAC results. The development of math skills requires a strong foundation, rigorous instruction, and aligned curricula year-over-year. Right now, with 60% of our students not meeting expectations in math, it’s clear that something is seriously wrong with our system. It is not enough just to adopt standards. We must invest in the development and consistent implementation of a high-quality curriculum. We must provide teachers with the training and tools necessary to teach these skills. We must ensure that students have the time and support necessary to successfully master the curriculum. And, finally, we must prepare school leaders who can set the stage for these things to happen.
“When Connecticut students graduate high school, they should already be on a path to success, and these data show that they aren’t. As a state, we have to react to data points like these by seeking solutions. Our state has a lot of work to do.”