Connecticut’s plan has a number of potentially negative implications for subgroups of students.
The state will give its “high-needs” subgroup approximately 40 percent weight in each school’s rating, which is significant, but it omits other groups like black and Hispanic students. Connecticut sets a low threshold to include subgroups of students into its accountability system (an n-size of 20 students), but it does not provide data on the impact.
Connecticut proposes using its combined “high needs” group to identify schools in need of targeted support, which has a number of problems.
The group would be composed of students from a low socioeconomic background, English language learners, and students with disabilities. While the goal with this group is to capture more students in the accountability system, it’s not clear what sort of intervention a school would design based on this combined group, since each of the component groups has different instructional needs.
Moreover, given the relative size of each of these groups, English Learners and students with disabilities are likely to be drowned out by the much larger group of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Connecticut’s plan is inconsistent with the ESSA requirement that states pay attention to all subgroups.
Connecticut’s proposal to limit its targeted support efforts to a subset of its student groups is inconsistent with federal requirements, and it would ignore other groups, such as black and Hispanic students.
The state is also proposing to include former English language learners and students with disabilities for up to four or two years, respectively, after they are no longer receiving services. Since exiting students tend to have higher performance, the state should monitor its data to ensure it is not masking the performance of students who are still receiving services.