WNPR

Schools' Accountability Score Flat, Student Growth Slows

Feb 11, 2018

Connecticut schools performed about the same as they did last year on the state's accountability system. 

While, overall, districts did about the same, a smaller portion of students are meeting growth targets than last year.

Measuring growth is an attempt to see how much kids are learning during a year. The state has only been measuring growth for about three years, and it looks at math and English scores.

In a conference call with reporters, Ajit Gopalakrishnan, bureau chief of the Connecticut Department of Education's Performance Office, said schools should be using this data to figure out what's working and what's not.

"It is about saying, 'Why are some students growing, and not other students? Why are some schools and some districts producing really high levels of growth and what are they doing?'" Gopalakrishnan said. 

He said schools that focus on the content standards often show the highest growth. It’s also important to make sure teachers understand these standards, and can apply them.

"It's not about chasing short-term wins or doing a lot of testing and trying to predict how kids will do, it's not about all that," he said. "It's really about getting back to core instruction."

However, the growth only looks at one year. It doesn’t consider how students perform over several years. That's because kids often move between districts. Growth in science also isn't tracked.

The report does show that more students are prepared for college or a career after high school, compared to last year. There was also an uptick in the percentage of high-needs students graduating within six years.

The state has target rates for each thing it measures, which is then translated into points. In total, the state earned just over 73 percent of the total number of available points.