2

Raise expectations and provide supports so all students can meet them.

High Expectations

Total Points
Incomplete
10
Complete
13

2(a) - Expand High-Quality Preschool and Full-Day Kindergarten to Ensure School Readiness

1 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 1 out of 4 available points for expanding high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten opportunities.

Connecticut’s early childhood program needs a Quality Rating and Improvement (QRIS) system to publicly rate the quality of early childhood programs and provide them with a track for improvement. By statute, the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is required to develop and implement a Quality Rating and Improvement system (QRIS),1 and the OEC hired a QRIS director in 20162. While the QRIS is in development,3 the OEC has concentrated on quality improvements for early childhood providers.4 Eventually, Connecticut will need a fully operational QRIS, one that also incorporates a rating component that creates accountability for early childhood programs.

In addition to reporting on and improving the quality of early childhood programs, Connecticut is working hard to provide high-quality early childhood opportunities to all low-income students. In 2015-16, West Haven5 became the final Alliance District to implement full-day kindergarten.

Connecticut is also working to provide high-quality preschool opportunities for low-income students. Between 2012-2015, Connecticut has funded 2,030 School Readiness slots,and 2015 legislation expanded eligibility for these school readiness slots to all low-income preschool-aged children7. Nonetheless, thousands of low-income students still have an unmet need for preschool opportunities. The OEC is partnering with the Connecticut Economic Resource Center to report on children who need high-quality preschool. This is expected to be completed in 2016.8

(Note: This rubric has been amended since its original creation, in order to better respond to current events.9)


2(b) - Maximize the Power of Parental Involvement

2 out of 3 points

Connecticut receives 1 out of 3 available points for maximizing parental involvement.

Legislation passed in 2015 requires the creation of a planning commission to develop a strategic master plan for education. One of its major duties will be to identify and analyze how parental engagement affects and supports students.10 In October 2016, Commissioner Wentzell announced the convening of the Commissioner’s Roundtable for Family and Community Engagement in Education.11 This group will include parents, educators, students, and other community stakeholders who will assist the Commissioner in implementing the SBOE’s 5 year Comprehensive Plan and reviewing and recommending effective practices to develop successful school and family partnerships.

The state is also working hard to involve parents in the lowest-performing districts in their children’s education. 73 family resource centers12 exist in local schools, the vast majority of which are located in lower-income communities (such as the Alliance Districts).13 The state also built a website to introduce families to the Connecticut Core Standards,14 including explanations in 6 languages other than English15.

In the past, the CSDE has also provided funding to the Parent Trust Fund, which trains parents to be advocates for their children’s education in 18 Alliance District communities.16 Although funding for the Parent Trust Fund was reduced in FY 2016-17,17 it continues to be funded by the State Department of Education and philanthropic contributions.

(Note: This rubric has been amended since its original creation, in order to better respond to current events.18)


2(c) - Align Statewide Curricula To High Standards

3 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 3 out of 4 available points for aligning statewide curricula with high standards.

The Connecticut State Board of Education (CSBE) unanimously adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010,18 and they are generally recognized as setting higher curricular standards for Connecticut’s students.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has a website devoted to providing parents, teachers, school leaders, and district curricula developers with the tools they need to implement the CT Core Standards.21 The website has model lessons and materials, resources for professional development, and parent and community friendly materials to explain the standards.22 In addition, the state is providing a series of learning opportunities, including regional workshops, on the Common Core.23

As part of the Commissioner’s Network of Schools initiative to turnaround low-performing schools, the CSDE, local boards of education, school governance council, and the turnaround committee must conduct instructional audits that include analysis of whether the school has a curriculum that “is based on student needs, is research-based, rigorous and aligned with state academic content standards, and serves all children, including students at every achievement level.”24


2(d) - Identify and Support Low-Achieving Students Early in their Academic Careers

4 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 4 out of 4 available points for identifying students that are falling behind and providing them with appropriate academic interventions.

The State Board of Education has approved K-3 reading assessments to be administered to determine students’ reading proficiencies early in their academic careers.25 For students living in the 14 priority school districts26 reading proficiencies must be periodically assessed,27 and individual reading improvement plans developed for students who are not on track.28 Students who still are not reading proficiently at the end of each of these years must attend summer school (if their school districts can afford it).29

As part of CT’s Next Generation Accountability system (from the 2015 ESEA waiver), elementary students will be measured on both annual student achievement (via SBAC testing) and how much they have grown academically from the year before.30 Additionally, students will be measured on a series of other measures including their attendance and physical fitness.31 If there is cumulative lack of performance at the school, district, or subgroup levels, there are required interventions including the development of SRBI interventions.32

Ninth graders will be judged about whether they are on-track to graduate,33 including monitoring of excessive absences, assessment performance, and academic growth34.


2(e) - Measure Student Progress Frequently

2 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 2 out of 4 available points for measuring student progress frequently.

In order for results from statewide assessments to be used as the basis for instructional decisions during a school year, Connecticut will need to make the results available quickly—ideally within 45 days of the assessment date. Currently, results are not being made available quickly enough.

However, the state is establishing instructional and learning environment benchmarks for the 30 lowest-performing districts. In 2016, the Connecticut State Board of Education announced its Next Generation Accountability System,35 which has also been incorporated into state statute36. There are twelve indicators that will create the new accountability index for each school and district37:

  1. Academic achievement;
  2. Academic student growth;
  3. Assessment participation rate;
  4. Attendance and chronic absenteeism;
  5. Coursework for college/career;
  6. Examinations for college/career;
  7. 9th grade, on track for graduation;
  8. 4 year cohort high school graduation rate;
  9. 6 year cohort high school graduation rate
  10. Post-secondary enrollment;
  11. Physical fitness; and
  12. Arts availability.

The Next Generation Accountability System also includes state oversight over Alliance Districts, as measured by the new accountability index.38

Although schools are not yet required to administer assessments multiple times per year, the CSDE has made a Digital Library available online, which “provides subject- and grade-specific resources that help educators apply the formative assessment process during daily instruction.”39

(Note: This rubric has been amended since its original creation, in order to better respond to current events.40, 41)


2(f) - Set High Expectations for What Students Should Know and Be Able To Do

1 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 1 out of 4 available points for setting high expectations for what students should know and be able to do.

Connecticut adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010.42 In addition to the Reading and Math standards already developed for CT, the State Board of Education recently endorsed a Social Studies framework that also aligns with the Common Core.43

Connecticut’s 2015 ESEA waiver also provides for a new 11th grade assessment (the SAT), rather than administration of the Smarter Balanced test in high school.44

According to existing legislation, beginning with the class of 2021, high school students will have to take and pass end-of-year tests in Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, American History, and grade 10 English.45 However, this requirement is several years away from implementation. However, these end-of-year exams have yet to be implemented, and their implementation date is repeatedly postponed46. If they are implemented in future, the state should also provide pre-assessment opportunities, as well as retake opportunities.


High Expectations Rubric

2(a) - Expand High-Quality Preschool and Full-Day Kindergarten to Ensure School Readiness - 4 points available

  • The CSDE establishes a quality rating system for programs providing early childcare and early education.
  • The CSDE publicly reports on data in the quality rating system.
  • All-day kindergarten is required for all students in the 30 lowest-performing districts.
  • CT provides sufficient funding for all low-income three- and four-year olds to attend high-quality preschool programs.

2(b) - Maximize the Power of Parental Involvement - 3 points available

  • The CSDE develops effective strategies for involving parents in the education of their children.
  • The CSDE deploys these strategies in the 30 lowest-performing districts.
  • The CSDE establishes a competitive grant program, possibly with philanthropic funds, to promote these programs.

2(c) - Align Statewide Curricula To High Standards - 4 points available

  • The CSDE makes available online model curricula that are aligned with the Common Core.
  • The CSDE implements a coordinated statewide plan for training and supporting implementation of the Common Core.
  • The CSBE acts on its authority to audit curricular materials in the lowest-performing schools.
  • CT monitors and supports the lowest-performing districts to ensure appropriate implementation of the Common Core.

2(d) - Identify and Support Low-Achieving Students Early in their Academic Careers - 4 points available

  • CT enacts legislation requiring districts and schools to provide academic interventions—including opportunities such as summer school, customized learning experiences, extended day programs, in-school tutoring, or Saturday academies.
  • CT enacts legislation requiring students in grades 1-2 to attend such programming if assessment scores indicate that they are far behind in reading or math.
  • CT enacts legislation requiring students in grades 3-5 to attend such programming if they fall below the designated proficiency standard on statewide assessments.
  • CT enacts legislation requiring students in grades 6-11 to attend such programming if they have any two of the following risk factors: falling below the designated proficiency standard on statewide assessments, excessive absences, or course failure.

2(e) - Measure Student Progress Frequently - 4 points available

  • CT makes statewide assessment scores available to school districts and teachers within 45 days of the assessment date so that results can be used to make instructional decisions during the school year.
  • The CSBE acts on its authority to establish instructional and learning environment benchmarks for the 30 lowest-performing districts.
  • The CSBE acts on its authority to establish instructional and learning environment benchmarks for all schools.
  • All schools are required to administer assessments three times a year, based upon Connecticut Benchmark Assessment Systems that the CSDE builds out to align all grades and subjects to state standards.

2(f) - Set High Expectations for What Students Should Know and Be Able To Do - 4 points available

  • CT establishes a proficiency standard for subject-matter knowledge.
  • In accordance with subject-matter proficiency standards, students are required to pass standardized tests in order to graduate from high school.
  • The CSBE provides resources to support pre-assessment early intervention.
  • The CSBE provides retake opportunities for students who do not achieve a passing score on the high school assessment tests.
= Complete     = Incomplete

Sources


  1. C.G.S. 10-500.
  2. Electronic correspondence between KSG and OEC, August 24, 2016.
  3. Based on a telephone conversation between KSG and OEC. (The plan for this year is for a listening tour and a solicitation for volunteer child care entities to participate in a FY 2017-18 pilot program for QRIS.)
  4. Office of Early Childhood (2016). Quality Improvement System. Retrieved October 2016.
  5. Office of Fiscal Analysis confirmation to KSG on August 5, 2015.
  6. Office of Early Childhood (2015). Connecticut Expenditures and Early Care and Education Services for Preschool-Age Children. Last retrieved Dec. 2015.
  7. P.A. 15-227.
  8. Electronic correspondence between KSG and OEC, August 26, 2016.
  9. The point awarded in this rubric is for requiring all-day kindergarten for all students in the 30 lowest-performing districts. In the original 2009 report published by the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement and adopted by CCER, the recommendation was for this reform to be implemented in the lowest-performing 5% of elementary schools. At that time, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had outlined intervention processes in the lowest-performing 5% of schools. However, today, Connecticut has received a waiver from NCLB, and its framework for intervention instead contemplates district-level turnaround. Accordingly, this rubric has been amended to reflect both the spirit of the original recommendation and the reality of Connecticut’s current circumstances.
  10. P.A. 15-05, June Special Session, Section 263.
  11. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Press Release: Commissioner Wentzell Convenes First Roundtable for Family and Community Engagement in Education. Retrieved November 2016.
  12. Connecticut State Department of Education website. Family Resource Centers. Retrieved October 2016.
  13. Ibid.
  14. State Department of Education. Connecticut Core Standards Home Page. Retrieved October 2016.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Connecticut Commission on Children (n.d.) The Parent Trust fund: A statewide parent involvement initiative. Last retreived Dec. 2015.
  17. P.A. 16-02, MSS.
  18. One of the points not awarded in this rubric says, “The CSDE deploys… strategies [for parental engagement] in the 30 lowest-performing districts.” In the original 2009 report published by the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement and adopted by CCER, the recommendation was for this reform to be implemented in the lowest-performing 5% of elementary schools. At the time, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had outlined intervention processes in the lowest-performing 5% of schools. However, today, Connecticut has received a waiver from NCLB, and its framework for intervention instead contemplates district-level turnaround. Accordingly, this rubric has been amended to reflect both the spirit of the original recommendation and the reality of Connecticut’s current circumstances.
  19. Connecticut State Department of Education website (2015). Common Core State Standards in Connecticut: Smarter News, the Consortium’s Monthly eNewsletter. Retrieved Aug. 2015.
  20. Connecticut Core Standards. Materials for Teachers. Last retrieved October 2016.
  21. Connecticut Core Standards. Teacher Resources. Last retrieved October 2016.
  22. State Department of Education. Connecticut Core Standards Home Page. Retrieved October 2016.
  23. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET) Training. Retrieved November 2016.
  24. C.G.S. Section10-223h of the 2016 Supplement.
  25. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Approved Menu of Research-based Grades K-3 Universal Screening Reading Assessments. Retrieved October 2016.
  26. Wentzell, D. (2016). 2016-17 Alliance and Priority School District Consolidated Application Guidance. Retrieved October 2016.
  27. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). K-3 Reading Universal Screening Reportable Measures At-a-Glance. Retrieved October 2016.
  28. C.G.S. Section 10-265g.
  29. C.G.S. Section10-14u.
  30. US Department of Education (2015). Connecticut ESEA Flexibility Request. Retrieved October 2016.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid. (Grade 8 is included if it is the terminal grade in order to serve as an indicator of how well middle school students are being prepared for high school.)
  34. Ibid.
  35. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Using Accountability Results to Guide Improvement. Retrieved October 2016.
  36. Section 10-223e of the 2016 Supplement to the Connecticut General Statutes.
  37. Connecticut State Department of Education (2016). Using Accountability Results to Guide Improvement. Retrieved October 2016.
  38. Section 10-262u of the 2016 Supplement to the Connecticut General Statutes
  39. Connecticut State Department of Education. Smarter Balanced Digital Library. Retrieved October 2016.
  40. In the original 2009 report published by the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement and adopted by CCER, the recommendation was for this reform to be implemented in the lowest-performing 5% of elementary schools. At the time, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) had outlined intervention processes in the lowest-performing 5% of schools. However, today, Connecticut has received a waiver from NCLB, and its framework for intervention instead contemplates district-level turnaround. Accordingly, this rubric has been amended to reflect both the spirit of the original recommendation and the reality of Connecticut’s current circumstances.
  41. In the original 2009 report published by the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement and adopted by CCER, the recommendation called the administration of assessments three times a year, based upon Connecticut Benchmark Assessment Systems. This rubric has been amended to reflect both the spirit of the original recommendation and the reality that Connecticut has undertaken statewide implementation of the Common Core State Standards and associated assessments.
  42. Connecticut State Board of Education (2010). Minutes from February 3, 2010. Last retrieved in Dec. 2015.
  43. Connecticut State Board of Education (2015). Minutes from February 4, 2015. Last retrieved in Dec. 2015.
  44. Federal Department of Education (2015). Connecticut’s ESEA Flexibility Request. Last retrieved Dec. 2015.
  45. C.G.S. 10-221a of the 2014 Supplement to the General Statutes.
  46. Section 310 of P.A. 16-04, May Special Session, “An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation, and Other Purposes and Authorizing State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects.”