SDE: Smarter Balanced in Connecticut: A New Starting Point for Future Growth

Smarter Balanced in Connecticut:

A New Starting Point for Future Growth


A new roadmap for supporting student success

We owe it to our kids to make sure that they receive an education that prepares them to thrive in a global economy and civic life. That’s why Connecticut raised the bar and issued a new instructional roadmap that will prepare our kids for college and careers. Our new roadmap, the Connecticut Core Standards, sets learning expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level so that by the time they graduate from high school, they are ready to succeed in college and the workplace.

A new ruler for measuring student success


New standards require a new state test to measure progress towards these new learning goals. In 2014-15, the Smarter Balanced assessments replaced our old state tests, the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) for Grades 3-8 and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) for Grade 11, in English language arts and math.

Real-world skills


The Connecticut Core Standards focus on critical thinking and problem solving—the real-world skills students need to be successful in college and careers. The Smarter Balanced assessments are administered on computers and are designed to measure these skills through reading comprehension, writing, and math questions that require students to demonstrate that they truly understand the content—not just fill in a bubble. Smarter Balanced will help parents and teachers better understand how the student is progressing, revealing where the student is excelling and where the student needs extra help.

The new baseline


Given that the new exams test different content and skills than the state’s old exams tested, the scores cannot be compared. In effect, it is like comparing apples to oranges. With the new tests, students will receive new scores. As expected, results look different from scores under the old assessment system.

This does not mean that students are learning less. Rather, it reflects that the bar was set higher.

Beyond 2015, in addition to measuring achievement annually, it will be equally—if not more important—to measure growth in student achievement from this new baseline. Together, measures of annual achievement and growth will more fully reflect students’ progress toward the fulfillment of the promise of college and career readiness. These measures will also acknowledge the efforts of Connecticut educators who have been working tirelessly over the past few years to implement the Connecticut Core Standards.

Statewide picture


In total, approximately 267,000 students took the Smarter Balanced exams in 2015, the first operational year of the new state assessments. 


A complete list of the statewide, district and school scores: Setting the baseline <hyperlink to>



Content Last Modified on 8/28/2015 2:13:15 PM