The Gap in Connecticut

When people hear that Connecticut has the largest achievement gap, they assume it’s because our wealthier students must be performing really well. But that’s not the whole story.

Why Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the U.S.

Low income correlates with low levels of academic achievement. In Connecticut we have some of the wealthiest towns in the country as well as some of the poorest. This disparity in income contributes to the achievement gap. But it is not all a result of income differences. When compared to low-income students from other states, Connecticut’s low-income students score in the bottom third on some key assessments.

There are other factors that contribute to the achievement gap, pointing to the need for reform of the pre-K–12 education system. These include:

  • A lack of accountability throughout our system
  • Not setting high expectations for all of our students
  • The need for more effective teachers and school leaders—especially in low-income areas
  • Inefficient and opaque ways of funding education
  • Complacency with chronically low-achieving schools 

Source: U.S. Department of Education, NAEP Data Explorer.

Note: Chart shows average scale score gap between low-income students and non-low-income students on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 8th Grade Math.