The results of Connecticut’s first statewide SAT exam for 11th graders, which replaced the Standard Balanced Assessment Curriculum (SBAC) test last year, were released Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Although state officials say the tests should not be directly compared, the percentage of Wilton 11th graders who met or exceeded the 2016 SAT achievement standards was higher than the percentage of those who met or exceeded the 2015 SBAC achievement levels.

In 2015, Wilton had the lowest SBAC achievement in its DRG-A district reference group, which also includes Darien, New Canaan, Region 9, Ridgefield, Weston and Westport.

While 55.8% of Wilton 11th graders met or exceeded the SBAC language arts achievement level in 2015, 93% met or exceeded this year’s SAT language arts benchmark — the third-highest percentage in the DRG-A.

In 2015, 61.9% of Wilton 11th graders met or exceeded the SBAC math achievement level. This year, 76.1% met or exceeded the SAT math benchmark.

At 96.2%, New Canaan had the DRG-A’s highest percentage of 11th graders who met or exceeded the SAT language arts benchmark, followed by Darien (94.6%). The other four DRG-A districts fared as follows:


  • Ridgefield: 92.1%.

  • Region 9: 90.9%.

  • Westport: 90.8%.

  • Weston: 84.3%.


New Canaan had the DRG-A’s highest percentage of 11th graders who met or exceed the SAT math benchmark at 84%, followed by closely by Darien at 83.7%. Ridgefield had 80.4%, Westport had 75.5%, Region 9 had 72.6%, and Weston had 71.1%.

SBAC to SAT


In the 2015-16 school year, Connecticut swapped the 11th grade SBAC for the SAT after the U.S. Department of Education approved Gov. Dannel Malloy’s request to reduce the amount of standardized testing required for public high school students.

“By switching to the SAT, we responded to student and parent concerns about over-testing and committed to an accountability measure that will help us know if we are delivering on our promise to our kids,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell stated in an Aug. 3 press release.

“We also took a big step toward greater equity in our schools by giving all
Connecticut 11th-graders a chance to take a college and career readiness exam that can unlock the door to higher education.”

The SAT, administered to 11th graders statewide for the first time in the spring of 2016, was redesigned from prior SAT exams in order to better gauge their mastery of Common Core Standards.

The pre-2016 SAT was based on a composite score of three sections — critical reading, writing and mathematics. The benchmark of the composite score was 1550 out of 2400.

The redesigned exam is based on subject-specific scores in math and evidence-based reading and writing. The language arts benchmark is 480 out of 800, and the math benchmark is 530 out of 800.

Wilton 11th graders earned a 604 average language arts score and 596 average math score on the 2016 SAT.

Statewide, 65% of Connecticut 11th graders met or exceeded the standard for language arts and 39.3% met or exceeded the math achievement standard, according to the State Department of Education (SDE).

“These results show us that the majority of students are mastering college and career readiness in ELA, but they are continuing to struggle in math,” said Wentzell.

“Our commitment to equity and excellence in education means we have to double down on our efforts to raise student achievement across the board and give our students what they need to succeed.”

Participation


The results of Connecticut’s first statewide SAT revealed a “dramatic increase in the percentage of students who took the newly designed 11th-grade mastery exam,” according to the SDE.

The state saw “pockets of decreased participation” in some Connecticut districts during the 2014-15 school year — “mostly among 11th-graders taking the SBAC,” according to the SDE.

This year, nearly 38,000 Connecticut high school students took the state mastery exam, bringing the participation rate to about 94%. Although preliminary, these results represent “a significant increase in the number of high school students taking the state mastery exam,” according to the SDE.

In Wilton, 328 11th graders took the language arts portion of the SAT and 327 took the math portion.

The DRG-A district with the highest 11th-grade SAT participation was Westport with 433 test-takers, followed by Ridgefield with 418 test-takers. The other DRG-A districts had the following number of test-takers:


  • New Canaan: 319.

  • Darien: 312.

  • Region 9: 263.

  • Weston: 197.


This upcoming school year, Connecticut 11th graders will take the SAT on April 5, 2017, with April 25 and 26 makeup dates.