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Connecticut's NAEP Scores Flatten, Worse in Fourth Grade Math

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Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, discusses results for the 2015 NAEP scores in a presentation at left.

Connecticut students tested at about the same levels in math and reading as they did in 2013, according to results released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. Fourth graders, however, tested worse this time around than they did two years ago.

The score gap between certain students remains about the same. Black and Latino students continue to score lower than white and Asian students. Kids from low-income families, and disabled students, also continue to score lower than the state average. 

Dianna Wentzell, commissioner of the State Department of Education, said these scores reflect results from the Smarter Balanced assessments, which also showed a decline in student performance. 

"Both the NAEP and Smarter Balanced assessments show us that one area where we need to make significant improvement is math," Wentzell said in a statement. 

Connecticut's fourth and eighth grade reading scores are among the best in the country. Scores in the Nutmeg State remain roughly at the national average for math. 

Click the links below to examine Connecticut's scores: 

These tests are administered nationally to fourth and eighth graders every two years, and are used to compare educational progress between states.
The achievement gap between certain students and others remains a point of contention for some. The upcoming lawsuit between the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding and the state education department challenges Connecticut's funding mechanism.

CCJEF claims the state is not funding schools based on need, which has contributed to the poor achievement gap and is evidenced in the flat and declining NAEP scores. 

The state education department reported that these scores were within expectations, citing the new Common Core State Standards that have raised the bar for students.

But a recent study found that the math tests aren't as aligned with the Common Core as other subjects. 

The renewed focus on testing has been heavily criticized by some parents and many teachers. The Connecticut Education Association, which is the state's largest teachers union, issued a statement after the NAEP scores were released, urging these scores to be viewed as the result of flawed policy.

These "scores provide evidence of the failure of the corporate reform agenda based on the very outcomes their reform movement sought to affect," said Sheila Cohen, CEA president, in a statement.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said change takes time.

"We are working to raise academic standards, use data from a new state assessment, and develop a system for providing professional development to our educators," Villar said in a statement. "These aren’t the types of changes that happen overnight, so we can’t expect scores to improve immediately." 

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway.

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