HARTFORD, CT – Today’s release of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) results shows some encouraging trends. Between 2006 and 2011, the percent of low-income students performing at or above the goal level increased by nearly a third in math and by nearly 40 percent in reading in grade 3. Additionally, gaps in achievement between low-income and non-low-income students narrowed in both subjects in grade 3. The performance of low-income students; however, still remains unacceptable with 34 percent of low-income students scoring at or above the goal level in reading.

In grade 8, the percent of low-income students scoring at or above goal increased by nearly 50 percent in math and a third in reading since 2006. Gaps in achievement have also decreased in reading and math between low-income students and their peers.

Writing and science results were mixed for grades 3 and 8 with neither grade having large gains in improvement between 2006 and 2011. With the expected growth in science-related jobs and just one third of grade 8 low-income students achieving at the goal or above level in science, there must also be a focus on improving science instruction for low-income students.

“Connecticut’s low-income students are making progress and gaps are narrowing; however, the gap is still enormous and far too many of our low-income students are behind” said Peyton Patterson, Chairman of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

Math is a gateway skill in grade 8: if students are successful in math, they are more likely to go on to take college preparatory classes in high school, which have high expectations and lead to higher success rates in college. “With about 40 percent of low-income students achieving at the goal level or higher in grade 8 math, we have a long way to go before we can feel confident that low-income students will enter high school ready and leave prepared for college or the workforce” said Shana Kennedy, Interim Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

Figure 1:

Change in Percent At or Above Goal for Low-Income and Non-Low-Income Students

 

 

Grade 3

Math

% Goal + Above

 Grade 3  Reading

% Goal + Above

Grade 3 Writing

% Goal + Above

 

 

2006

2011

2006

2011

2006

2011

Non-Low-Income

 

67.7

76.0

67.6

72.0

71.7

73.5

Low-Income

 

30.8

40.9

24.5

34.2

36.4

39.8

Gap in % Goal + Above

 

36.9

35.1

43.1

37.8

35.3

33.7

 

 

 

Grade 8

Math

% Goal + Above

 Grade 8  Reading

% Goal + Above

Grade 8 Writing

% Goal + Above

Grade 8 Science

% Goal + Above

 

 

2006

2011

2006

2011

2006

2011

2006

2011

Non-Low-Income

 

70.2

80.2

77.6

86.1

72.5

78.0

NA

77.9

Low-Income

 

26.5

39.3

37.6

51.2

35.3

38.7

NA

34.7

Gap in % Goal + Above

 

43.7

40.9

40.0

34.9

37.2

39.3

NA

43.2