Connecticut's high-stakes standardized test scores show incremental improvement for elementary school students, mixed results for high school students and a slight narrowing of the state's yawning achievement gap between low- and higher-income students.
Despite some improvement, the tests continue to show a massive disparity in achievement in Connecticut, with more than twice the percentage of higher-income students performing at or above the "goal" level compared to lower-income students in many grade levels and subject areas.
The test scores also showed a widening of the gap between students who speak English and those who are learning to speak it.
But, he added, "We need to accelerate."
He noted that schools are moving more students into proficient- and goal-level performance, but that "significant gaps in achievement continue between economically disadvantaged students and their peers."
Patrick Riccards, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement, a non-profit New Haven-based group, said the scores "provide us reason for cautious optimism. Looking at the numbers, we're seeing positive trends, particularly if we look over the five-year trajectory, but at the same time, we are still looking at just awful achievement gaps."
About 250,000 students in third through eighth grades took the Connecticut Mastery Test this spring. They showed the most consistent improvements in reading and writing, and, while student performance in math improved in the earlier grades, it declined slightly among older children.