Last Friday, Dec. 8, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released the results from its 2021-2022 Next Generation Accountability System, a system that awards points on a broad set of 12 indicators the state says help tell the story of how well a school prepares its students for success in college, careers, and life.
Wilton Public Schools was the highest-scoring district in the state, with a total score index of 89.9, up from 85.0 in 2018-2019 when the index was last published. The index results have been released online.
The CSDE says the system provides a “more holistic, multi-factor perspective of district and school performance and incorporates student growth over time,” and is more complex than looking only at test scores and graduation rates.
The 12 indicators include achievement, growth, chronic absenteeism, college and career readiness, high school graduation, postsecondary entrance, physical fitness, and the arts. Performance on each indicator is measured against a target. Student group performance receives additional weight in the system. The overall “Accountability Index” is the percentage of points earned across all available indicators.
Wilton earned an Accountability Index of 89.9 on the state’s 2021-22 scale — the highest score of any Connecticut school district. It’s also the highest score reached by the district since 2014-15.
Compared to neighboring DRG-A schools, Wilton scored as follows:
New Canaan: 84.9
Cider Mill School (grades 3-5) was named a 2022 School of Distinction for high overall performance and high academic growth, posting an accountability index score of 87.3, up from 80.4 in 2018-2019.
Middlebrook Middle School (grades 6-8) was the third highest performing middle school in the state with an accountability index score of 82.8, up from 77.3 in 2018-2019.
Wilton High School (grades 9-12) was the fourth-highest performing high school in the state with an accountability index score of 88.8, down slightly from 92.5 in 2018-2019.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin Smith said in a press release that the scores Wilton received “reflect the tremendous effort made by the teachers and staff in the district to address unfinished learning and attack achievement gaps.”
“It is affirming to witness such strong results during a time when we are confronted with so many challenges. The academic growth that took place this past year was remarkable. I am proud of our teachers and know that the effort to address unfinished learning continues. I am especially proud of our efforts at narrowing the achievement gap with our high needs students and most notably in mathematics,” he said.
More information about Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability Index can be found online.
Statewide Results Less Rosy
The results are less rosy statewide, according to a press release from the CSDE, and build on statewide assessment results data released by state education officials in August that showed some signs of learning acceleration but overall student achievement still lagging pre-pandemic levels.
Friday’s release of accountability results confirm the broader impact of the pandemic on other student outcomes. Among the findings:
- Chronic absenteeism was more than twice the pre-pandemic levels.
- The percentage of ninth graders on track to graduate high school in four years declined by more than five percentage points after the pandemic, as the standard to be on track has also increased from earning five to six credits in ninth grade.
- The percentage of students enrolling in college within one year after high school graduation has declined significantly for students who graduated high school during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. This is especially true for those from low-income families.
- The percentage of students reaching the Health Fitness Zone Standard in all four areas of the Connecticut Physical Fitness Assessment declined by seven percentage points with the largest decline (8.5 percentage points) evidenced in the aerobic capacity assessments.