NEW BRITAIN - Students are greeting the new school year with positive news as a state academic assessment show improvements throughout all grade levels.
The state Department of Education released the results of the 2018-19 Smarter Balanced assessment on Monday. The assessment accounts for proficiency in English language arts and mathematics for students in grades 3 through 8. These assessments have been used in the state since 2014-15 and are aligned to the Connecticut’s Core Standards, according to the Department of Education.
In 2018-19, statewide ELA achievement improved for the second year in a row, with students meeting the proficiency benchmark increasing from 55.3 percent in 2017-18 to its highest ever at 55.7 percent. Statewide mathematics achievement also showed strong improvement, rising from 46.1 percent in 2017-18 to 48.1 percent in 2018-19.
It is important to note that high needs students, those who are either English learners, students with disabilities, and/or from low income families, are showing stronger improvement than the state as a whole in both subjects, according to the assessment.
The mission to close academic gaps around the state remains a priority, said Miguel Cardona, state education commissioner, who emphasized that while improvements are promising, there is an ongoing need to continue making progress.
Randy Brochu, communication specialist with the Consolidated School District of New Britain, said the district is currently in the process of analyzing the data from the state assessment and they are committed to continuous growth and improvement.
There are several ongoing programs the district is working on to ensure all student needs are met, said Brochu. This includes the commitment to STEAM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It is an academic program that provides education and enrichment for every student through engaging and interactive learning.
The district also invests in their teachers by providing professional development through New Britain University, recognizing that the best way to improve student outcomes is to build teacher capacity.
“The best way to build teacher capacity is through collaboration,” said Brochu. “We have scheduled enrichment learning for students during teacher professional development so that they can both receive this valuable professional development while also maintaining continuity through the elimination of early release days for this professional development.”
For more information, visit www.edsight.ct.gov .