- Connecticut deserves credit for including a robust list of measures in its accountability systems, including art, physical education, science, and college-going rates. Although the details around implementation matter.
- Connecticut significantly involved stakeholders in its planning process, which began prior to passage of ESSA. Through site visits, surveys, and focus groups, there was a substantial effort to engage practitioners, parents, and the public (although it remains unclear if all stakeholder groups were represented equitably).
- Connecticut has used the State Board of Education’s five-year comprehensive plan and its Next Generation Accountability System as a foundation to its ESSA plan. Although it hasn’t fully succeeded in aligning its proposed accountability system with its professed long-term vision, Connecticut could take specific steps to strengthen the cohesiveness of its efforts.
- Connecticut’s plan does not include proficiency targets, and its accountability system does not include any measure capturing whether or not students are reaching the state’s grade-level standards.
- Under the state’s proposed accountability system, schools will be competing against each other for their place in the rankings, rather than against a predetermined standard. That lack of front-end transparency will present a challenge for educators, who won’t have clear goals to shoot for at the beginning of each school year. The state’s exit criteria also allow low-performing schools to leave improvement status only once they jump enough schools in the state’s rankings.
- The state’s plan also has a number of potentially negative implications for subgroups of students. The state’s uses of a “high-needs” group, which would combine low-income students, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Although the high-needs group will count for 40 percent of a school’s score, that may not work well from an educational standpoint, because these three groups have very different needs. And, by focusing exclusively on this group, Connecticut would be ignoring the performance of other groups, like black and Hispanic students.