State Department of Education officials said Wednesday they plan to seek federal approval to grade the state’s 1,150 public schools using more than just test scores.

The state agency wants to use student attendance rates as a criteria in the required school ratings in its next application for a waiver from the punitive requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The department wants to take into account whether a school’s chronic absenteeism rates are declining or increasing from year to year.

The state currently rates elementary and middle schools using only the scores on state standardized tests and whether they improve from year to year. High school ratings recently began using graduation rates.

The ratings are used by the State Department of Education to target schools for state intervention and additional resources. Parents are able to review their child’s school rating here.

The state’s current waiver to the requirements of No Child Left Behind Act expires at the end of this school year.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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