Connecticut was on board with the Common Core from the beginning. Formally adopted in 2010, it has since been fully implemented, reaching said status during the 2013-14 school year. However, while most states began fighting the Core, Connecticut took a different approach, fighting against some of its regulations for the sake of the teachers.
Starting 2014, the state decided to fight the government’s requirements to base teacher evaluations off of new test scores that align with Core standards. Instead of the blowback being because parents simply didn’t like a set of standards tied to the government, it was based on the fact that the teachers needed more time. After all, every new test starts with lower scores than normal, so, according to Connecticut reasoning, how would it be fair to judge their teachers based off of these first few rounds of new tests?
The decided answer was that it wasn’t fair at all.
Instead, it was decided that evaluations based on this program would be delayed for later. In addition, they pushed for a decrease in the number of classroom observations required and an increase in available technical assistance for the processing of the evaluations. While certainly a step in the right direction for teacher acclimatization, it still didn’t assuage any fears emanating from the select group of parents that eventually rose up to naysay the Core.
As no surprise to anyone, 2015 revealed some pretty poor scores for the students of Connecticut. According to the new standardized test, only 40% of students were passing math while 55% passed English. Known as the Smarter Balance Assessment, or SBAC, Connecticut both served and continues to serve on the committee that designed this exam as a way to test student acumen in accordance with new Core standards.
Such scores did prompt accusations of validity. For instance, one high school long noted for being a top performer of the state found that its students did poorly, prompting a few of the teachers to wonder if the test or the students not taking the test seriously caused the drop. That being said, it was shown that the younger students that had spent more time learning with Core standards actually did better than the older students. Many educators were not surprised by this as shifting gears in learning is a challenging feat to accomplish.
In the end, despite calls to repeal the standardized exam entirely, many are taking the bump in stride, noting that even though the scores were low, they still met Connecticut educational expectations. Because of this, it has become important to many to not shrug of the information so much as use it to build on. There are clear areas for improvement and teachers are working hard to fill those gaps, but the state itself is not looking to kill the Core as an easy way out.