- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Results released Wednesday from Connecticut’s first statewide SAT exam highlight the same challenges in student performance in mathematics that appeared in last year’s results from a different standardized test.

The Department of Education announced that 39.3 percent of 11th-graders who took the SAT met or exceeded the achievement standard for math, while 65 percent of 11th -graders met or exceeded the standard for language arts. Those figures are comparable to last year’s results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Curriculum, or SBAC tests, which prompted the state education commissioner to create a special council on mathematics instruction. That group’s final report and recommendations are expected this fall.

“We have begun the work to turn that curve,” said Ajit Gopalakrishnan, the agency’s chief performance officer.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education agreed to allow Connecticut to replace the SBAC for 11th-graders with the SAT. It came amid concerns from parents and educators about excessive use of standardized testing, especially in the 11th grade. State officials noted that this year’s SAT was redesigned from prior SATs to better gauge a student’s mastery of Common Core education standards and therefore should be considered as baseline results.

Connecticut is one of a handful of states now using the SAT as an accountability measure. Besides lessening the number of tests students take, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said having the vast majority of 11th-graders in Connecticut take the SAT means more students are preparing for college and a career.

“No longer will the cost of a test prevent a Connecticut student from applying to college and following his or her dreams,” he said, adding how the state still has “more work to do” to ensure every student can succeed.

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