The Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, often referred to as the CMT and CAPT, are annual tests administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education to students in 3rd through 8th and 10th grades, respectively. The CMT and CAPT test students in mathematics, reading comprehension, writing, and science. CMT and CAPT test results cannot be compared to other states, but they provide a common metric that allows for the comparison of student academic achievement by socioeconomic and racial groups across schools and districts in Connecticut.
At and Above Goal Student Performance
While Connecticut students performed slightly better on a number of metrics than in the 2010-2011 school year, these gains are overshadowed by a sobering reality: approximately one-third of Connecticut’s students fail to perform at or above goal in math or reading and less than half of the state’s low-income students perform at or above goal in math or reading.
These statistics underscore the need for and importance of Connecticut’s recent landmark education reform bill (P.A. 12-116) and the fact that much work remains to be done to close our state’s achievement gaps and ensure that every student receives a high-quality education.
The achievement gap is evident in 3rd-8th grade, with 83% of Connecticut’s non low-income students scoring at or above goal in reading, as compared to only 48% of low-income students.
While Connecticut’s 10th graders showed slight improvements across the board, the achievement gap persists and widens into high school. By 10th grade, only one out of every five low-income students and only three out of every five non low-income students in Connecticut are reading at or above goal in 10thgrade.
At Basic and Below Student Performance
We believe that all students should be held to the academic expectation of achieving or exceeding goal, however, the troubling reality is that approximately 50,000 students score at a basic level or below in reading in Connecticut.
While the number of students performing at or below basic in math is lower than in reading, approximately 40,000 students score at a basic level or below in math in Connecticut.
Education Reform District’s Performance as Compared to the State Average
P.A. 12-116 established the Education Reform districts, which are the 10 lowest-achieving districts in the state. These districts serve approximately 20% of Connecticut’s students.
Academic achievement gaps between Education Reform districts and the state average are evident at every grade level in math and reading. For example, in 3rd grade, while roughly two-thirds of students statewide performed at or above goal level on math, only about one-third of students in the Education Reform districts scored at or above goal. This underscores the need for these districts to use the provisions in S.B. 458 to apply conditional ECS funding towards implementing reform strategies designed to rapidly improve achievement for our lowest achieving students.
The Achievement Gap Lives in Towns Across Connecticut
Achievement gaps in Connecticut are evident not only between districts but also within districts. In fact, some of Connecticut’s most affluent districts have larger achievement gaps than urban districts. For example, the districts with the largest achievement gaps in the state between subgroups, Greenwich and Glastonbury, are affluent districts.
Much Work Remains to be Done
The recent passage of P.A. 12-116 and the work of the Performance Evaluation Council, which established teacher and administrator evaluation guidelines, have moved Connecticut in the direction of education reform. Now more than ever, strong leadership at the state, district, school and classroom level is needed to ensure that the reform laws created are acted upon in order to close our state’s achievement gaps. Only through a collective and bold effort will we be able to provide a high-quality education and an exciting future for every young person in Connecticut.