July 2011

Are Connecticut Schools Meeting the Needs of Hispanic Students?

Annemarie Hillman and Alexandra Dufresne, J.D.

This report examines statewide and district-level data on the Hispanic-white achievement gap, as measured by scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) for fourth and eighth graders. It focuses on students who meet the "goal" performance level established by the state and includes data for 44 districts in the state. The report finds that Connecticut is failing to meet the educational needs of many of its Hispanic students. Achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students exist in every school district in Connecticut for which data about Hispanic students are publicly available, regardless of income level, geographic region, size, or percentage of Hispanic students.

  • Although the percentages of Hispanic and white students statewide who meet or exceed the goal level have generally risen over the last five years, the gaps between Hispanic and white scores have remained relatively constant, with slight improvements in fourth and eighth grade reading and fourth grade math, and more significant improvements in eight grade math and science.
  • Achievement gaps between Hispanic students and white students who meet the goal level are present across all districts in the state, but vary significantly between districts.
  • Districts vary considerably in their success in meeting the needs of Hispanic students, as measured by the percentage of Hispanic students meeting the goal in CMT scores.
  • English language ability contributes to achievement gaps at goal level between Hispanic and white students; however, these gaps cannot be attributed solely to differences in English language skills.

The report suggests better data are needed to evaluate the influence of factors such as family income and parent education level that contribute to the achievement gap. It also suggests sharing best practices from districts that have narrowed their achievement gap and targeting interventions in communities where gaps are greatest.

Issue Area:
Education