State-Wide Achievement Data Deserves Closer Look


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In an August 25, 2022 article the CT Examiner reported that the state as a whole saw a drop in test scores based on the achievement data released by the state earlier that day. This was followed by an opinion piece by the Editor-in-Chief stating that students ”are an entire lap and a half (more than an entire school year) behind” and that most other media sources hadn’t examined the numbers to highlight this disturbing fact.

Evaluating data, particularly data presented in large quantities with many ways to dissect it, can be complex, even for those who live and breathe these numbers. The numbers tell a unique story for each school district and should be evaluated as such.

When truly evaluating the results, a comparison of prior years to 2022 shows that Lyme-Old Lyme students bucked this downward trend at all the major transition points.  

By way of example, the chart below shows the average ERW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) and Math scores on the SAT for Lyme-Old Lyme High School.  If one were to believe the broad analysis of the aforementioned article, a precipitous drop should have occurred in 2022.  It didn’t.  In fact, the average scores are some of the highest in the past five years of scores and were right on par with pre-pandemic testing.

A more accurate evaluation of our students’ progress would include a comparison with other Connecticut school districts on the same set of tests.  Essentially, how did our students stack up when compared to their peers across the state who also struggled through two years of unusual schooling?  When viewed through that lens, the results further support a very impressive showing by Lyme-Old Lyme students.  Our students ranked in the top tier of CT amongst the perennial powerhouses from Fairfield County.

At Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School the results followed a similar pattern.

Our story remains consistent at the elementary level.

Even if we were to use the limited evaluation method selected by the Connecticut State Department of Education and the CT Examiner (the percentage of students at or above the state achievement goal), our students still excelled when compared to their peer to peer rankings from the 2018-2019 school year.

Testing data is important and should be evaluated, but there is no “one size fits all” story to be told.  Our incredibly strong showing was no doubt a result of the commitment of our students, staff, and communities to remain in school full time during the 2020-2021 school year, and the ongoing commitment of our staff to ensure our students’ learning did not suffer from the impact of the pandemic. 

While the scores above are not comprehensive of all grades, they demonstrate a highly impressive level of success in our communities which should be the real story told by one of our hometown news outlets.

Ian Neviaser
Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools