Connecticut students earned higher marks in math on the state test in 2016 than they did in 2015.
The achievement, for students in grades 3 through 8, drew praise from state and local education officials, saying the figures are proof that a recent focus on math and science is working.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said more teachers are teaching concepts in ways that can be communicated in the real world.
"That demanded a whole different way of teaching, a whole different way of thinking about a student’s progress through the curriculum and while those shifts are difficult are also kind of fun because they ask kids to do things like justify their reasoning, talk about their learning," Wentzell said.
Compared to 2015, overall math scores were up to 44 percent of students who took the tests exceeding or meeting the state standard, which was up by nearly four points.
In English, while overall scores were lower statewide, there was some improvement shown in what are known as Alliance schools, which are given priority for resources and training because they're in some of the state's lowest performing school districts.
Janet Brown-Clayton, the principal of the Lincoln Bassett Community School, said she thinks much of the progress in her school was made because of the attention paid to reducing the number of absences. They reduced no-shows by more than 50 percent compared to the previous year.
“I think it’s a combination of the work to keep children in school, hence our attendance data," she said.
The most troubling data shows something Connecticut and many other states have dealt with for decades, which is the achievement gap between different races of students.
White students far outperform their black and Latino counterparts. White students met the mat standard with a nearly 57 percent success rate, while black and Latino students tested at 17.6 percent of standard and 21.2 percent of standard, respectively.
New Haven's Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries said those figures show the state still has much progress to make.
"They show us so much of what we have to be proud of but also that we have so much left to go so by no means are we finished with our journey," Harries said.
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