Disparities for students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners could persist for decades


Hartford, Conn.
—Today, the State Department of Education released student scores for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam (SBAC). 

Each year, Connecticut students grades 3-8 are required to take the SBAC exam to demonstrate whether they are on grade-level for English Language Arts (ELA) and math. And each year, ConnCAN breaks down the results with a lens towards equity, to highlight bright spots and areas of concern. This year’s results show improved overall student performance in both ELA and math compared to last year.

ELA scores rose from 55.3 to 55.7% who are at/above grade level, a 0.4%-point increase from last year. Math scores rose from 46.8 to 48.1% who are at/above grade-level, a 1.3%-point increase from last year. 

However, students of color continue to perform at significantly lower rates. 

ConnCAN Executive Director Subira Gordon said:  “While these scores show improvements statewide, we cannot turn a blind eye to the persistent and serious disparities in performance among students of color. Generally, Black and Latino students, the fastest growing racial group in Connecticut, are not on grade-level, and thus, underprepared for college and career. ConnCAN believes this is fundamentally inequitable and unjust.”

Gordon added:  “Students with disabilities and English language learners also lag behind. ConnCAN will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that every child in Connecticut has access to a great education regardless of their zip code.”

The scores show that Black and Latino students are less likely to be at/above grade-level, compared to White students. Just 34.2% of Black students are at/above grade-level in ELA, and 23.3% for math. For Latino students, the results are similar: 35.7% for ELA and 27.0% for math. The results among White students were 69.2% for ELA and 62.1% for math.

Over a two year period, performance growth in both ELA and math were achieved in rural, suburban and urban schools.

Gordon said:  “Public schools of choice are showing great promise in both performance and improvement. Two noteworthy examples are Stamford Charter School for Excellence which ranked third in the state in English Language Arts proficiency (85.3%) and Bridgeport’s Park City Prep Charter School which increased math scores by 13.3% and its ELA scores by 13%. A lot can be learned from innovative models across the state which can bring us closer to achieving true equity in Connecticut.”

Based on the scores released today, it would take 70 years to close the English Language Arts gap between White and Black students and 30 years to close that gap between White and Latino students. Gaps in math scores between White students and students of color are actually increasing, meaning that Connecticut’s education system is becoming less equitable.


About ConnCAN:  ConnCAN is leading a movement to improve education outcomes for Connecticut’s kids. We bring advocates, policymakers, parents and educators together to change the system and give all kids access to the great public schools they deserve.  Learn more at conncan.org.


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