BRISTOL - Statewide, the number of high school juniors who met or exceeded the achievement standards for the SAT increased slightly this past school year. However, locally the number dropped somewhat.
The state Department of Education recently announced results from the 2017 administration of the Connecticut School Day SAT last March.
In 2016 the state replaced the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam with the SAT, as part of an effort to reduce the testing burden on students. At that time the SAT had been newly redesigned to align with the Common Core State Standards and to focus more on skills and knowledge needed for college and career success.
The most recent results show the statewide percentage of 11th graders who took the exam that met or exceeded the standard increased compared to 2016. In English Language Arts, the increase was 0.4 percentage points, from 65.0 to 65.4 percent, and in mathematics it was 2 percentage points, from 39.3 to 41.3 percent.
For Bristol, the percentage decreased in both English and Math. For English, 62.1 percent met or exceeded the standard, down 6.5 percentage points from the previous year. For math, it was 31 percent, down 3.1 percentage points.
As one of the 30 lowest performing districts in Connecticut, which the state department has designated as Alliance districts which receive additional state funding, Bristol is also doing comparatively poorly. The state Department of Education reports that 14 Alliance districts outpaced the state improvement average in English, and 11 outpaced state improvement in math.
Bristol is also part of DRG G, in the state’s District Reference Group system for grouping districts that have similar demographics. Comparison of several districts that are also in both DRG G and the Alliance group show that Hamden had a 6.3 percentage point decline in English and a 4.5 percentage point decline in math, Manchester had a 1.5 percentage point increase in math and no change in English, and Naugatuck had a 2.1 percentage point decline in English and a 2.4 percentage point increase in math.
Superintendent Ellen Solek was not available to comment on the SAT scores.
“The 2017 School Day SAT marks the second statewide administration of the exam, moving Connecticut closer to its goal of equity and excellence by ensuring all public school students in the 11th grade have the opportunity to take a college and career readiness exam, unlocking the doors to higher education for more students, especially those from low income families,” according to a statement from the state department.
Statewide, 96 percent of 11th graders participated in the 2017 Connecticut School Day SAT.
Vulnerable student groups showed improvement statewide, according to the state department.
While black and Hispanic students showed improvement in both subjects, achievement gaps persist. Only 36.8 percent of black students and 39.6 percent of Hispanic students met or exceeded the achievement standard in English, compared with 78.5 percent of white students. In math, 12.5 percent of black students and 16.5 percent of Hispanic students met or exceeded the achievement standard, compared with 53.4 percent of white students.
“The improvements, especially in mathematics, are encouraging,” said Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wetzel. “It is vital that leaders and classroom teachers in all our districts and schools work together to not only develop a clear and consistent understanding of the standards but also implement those standards with utmost fidelity.”
For complete results for 2017 Connecticut School Day SAT, visit edsight.ct.gov.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.