Topic:
EDUCATIONAL TESTING; SCHOOL FINANCE;
Location:
EDUCATION - TESTING;

OLR Research Report


January 16, 2004

 

2004-R-0005

EDUCATION SPENDING AND MASTERY TEST RESULTS

By: Alan Shepard, Principal Budget Analyst

Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

You asked several questions about Connecticut's per-pupil education spending and its correlation with mastery test results. Questions and responses are listed individually below.

Is it true that Connecticut ranked third among all states and the District of Columbia in per-pupil spending on K-12 public education for 2002-03? How has Connecticut's ranking changed over the last five years?

It is true that Connecticut ranked third in per-pupil K-12 public education spending in FY 2002-03. In each annual ranking of such spending by the 50 states and the District of Columbia since 1998, Connecticut has been among the top four. Table 1 below shows Connecticut's per-pupil expenditure and rank for each of the last five years, as well as the states that ranked above Connecticut in each year.

Table 1: Connecticut's Annual Per-Pupil Education Spending Rankings 1998-2003

YEAR

CT. PER-PUPIL

SPENDING

CT. RANK

STATES RANKING

HIGHER THAN CT.

1998-99

$10,748

4

New Jersey (1),

New York (2),

D.C. (3)

1999-00

11,196

3

D.C. (1)

New Jersey (2)

2000-01

10,258

4

D.C. (1)

New Jersey (2)

New York (3)

2001-02

11,048

2

D.C. (1)

2002-03

11,378

3

D.C. (1)

New York (2)

Sources: 1998-99 and 1999-00, National Center for Education Statistics

2000-01 through 2002-03, National Education Association

What has been the long-term trend in per-pupil spending in Connecticut over the last 30 years on a nominal and inflation-adjusted basis?

The earliest data for per-pupil spending in Connecticut currently available is from the 1979-80 school year. In that year, the net current expenditure per-pupil1 (NCEP) was $2,091. The latest NCEP data for the 2002-03 school year shows per-pupil spending at $9,826. The change is a 369% increase over that period. Over that same period, the change in consumer prices (inflation) was 135%. If per-pupil spending had increased at the same rate as inflation, per-pupil spending would now be $4,913.

What is the correlation between per-pupil spending and Connecticut mastery test results in each school district and for the state as a whole? Provide a list ranking each school district by test results and per-pupil spending.

Statistically, there is no correlation between per-pupil spending and student performance on the mastery exams. Utilizing data from the 1999-2000 school year and a simple regression analysis, less than 5% of the variation in test scores across school districts is explained by per-pupil spending. In fact, rather than the causal direction being more spending resulting in better performance, this data shows the reverse.

Student performance is more accurately predicted by factors outside the school system. Specifically, the best predictors of student performance are the educational attainment of the parents and whether the child comes from a single parent family or not. Nearly 80% of the variation in test results across districts can be explained using these data elements. Thus, one would theorize that towns that have higher educational attainment among parents and a lower percentage of single-parent families have better mastery exam results.

Table 2 shows per-pupil spending and mastery exam results along with associated ranks for the 1999-2000 school year.

Table 2: District Per-Pupil Spending And Mastery Exam Results

1999-2000

TOWN

GRANT MASTERY

PERCENTAGE

(1999/2000/01)

RANK

NCEP

2000

RANK

Andover

7.06%

98

$7,543

135

Ansonia

16.30%

155

7,501

136

Ashford

10.88%

133

8,204

78

Avon

1.52%

1

8,166

83

Barkhamsted

4.63%

50

8,278

71

Beacon Falls

5.12%

61

7,091

160

Berlin

4.66%

52

7,552

134

Bethany

5.73%

73

7,864

107

Bethel

6.03%

81

8,278

72

Bethlehem

5.67%

71

8,032

93

Bloomfield

17.70%

159

9,091

37

Bolton

3.11%

19

8,101

86

Bozrah

7.64%

107

8,460

64

Branford

4.64%

51

7,960

100

Bridgeport

29.52%

166

8,431

66

Bridgewater

3.10%

17

10,118

11

Bristol

13.83%

149

7,775

114

Brookfield

5.71%

72

7,148

155

Brooklyn

10.92%

134

7,858

108

Burlington

3.70%

31

7,867

105

Canaan

5.17%

63

$11,246

2

Canterbury

10.29%

131

8,132

84

Canton

4.66%

53

7,632

125

Chaplin

14.47%

150

9,011

40

Cheshire

2.95%

13

8,079

88

Chester

3.84%

35

8,873

44

Clinton

8.01%

111

8,811

45

Colchester

7.28%

100

6,669

169

Colebrook

10.41%

132

8,678

52

Columbia

7.73%

108

7,376

147

Cornwall

6.76%

93

9,303

29

Coventry

8.87%

121

7,041

163

Cromwell

5.66%

70

8,043

91

Danbury

16.95%

156

8,336

69

Darien

2.80%

9

9,839

18

Deep River

6.65%

92

8,176

81

Derby

15.73%

154

7,474

137

Durham

3.19%

20

8,726

47

East Granby

7.57%

104

8,487

61

East Haddam

8.20%

113

8,100

87

East Hampton

5.91%

78

7,742

117

East Hartford

20.88%

162

7,993

96

East Haven

12.75%

141

7,656

123

East Lyme

4.72%

56

7,974

99

East Windsor

9.92%

128

7,745

116

Eastford

10.09%

130

8,926

42

Easton

2.74%

8

9,122

35

Ellington

3.77%

32

7,438

142

Enfield

6.82%

94

8,117

85

Essex

4.00%

38

8,056

90

Fairfield

3.79%

33

9,683

20

Farmington

3.11%

18

7,654

124

Franklin

8.54%

117

9,015

39

Glastonbury

2.87%

11

7,456

139

Goshen

2.45%

6

9,290

30

Granby

4.22%

43

7,782

113

Greenwich

4.67%

54

$11,648

1

Griswold

12.89%

143

8,468

63

Groton

11.11%

135

9,097

36

Guilford

3.56%

29

8,191

79

Haddam

6.03%

82

8,561

57

Hamden

15.71%

153

9,320

28

Hampton

7.76%

109

9,484

22

Hartford

27.42%

164

11,035

5

Hartland

6.14%

87

7,579

131

Harwinton

3.55%

28

7,867

106

Hebron

3.43%

25

7,404

144

Kent

4.60%

49

8,913

43

Killingly

11.93%

138

7,611

127

Killingworth

4.20%

42

8,561

58

Lebanon

7.30%

102

7,585

130

Ledyard

7.94%

110

7,181

154

Lisbon

5.15%

62

7,392

146

Litchfield

4.34%

45

7,789

111

Lyme

5.32%

65

9,347

26

Madison

3.03%

15

7,371

148

Manchester

13.12%

144

8,183

80

Mansfield

6.11%

86

9,466

25

Marlborough

4.67%

55

7,444

141

Meriden

18.28%

161

8,207

77

Middlebury

4.05%

39

7,670

121

Middlefield

5.37%

67

8,726

48

Middletown

13.20%

145

9,239

33

Milford

6.06%

84

8,593

55

Monroe

3.97%

36

7,607

128

Montville

8.95%

122

8,175

82

Morris

3.99%

37

9,290

31

Naugatuck

14.98%

152

6,927

165

New Britain

27.20%

163

8,377

67

New Canaan

3.23%

21

10,394

7

New Fairfield

4.85%

58

7,705

118

New Hartford

5.28%

64

8,478

62

New Haven

33.66%

169

$10,801

6

New London

30.63%

167

10,176

9

New Milford

7.55%

103

7,133

157

Newington

6.43%

89

8,230

75

Newtown

3.35%

23

7,126

158

Norfolk

8.71%

118

10,002

15

North Branford

4.87%

59

7,305

151

North Canaan

7.01%

96

9,469

24

North Haven

4.06%

40

7,941

103

North Stonington

7.29%

101

8,369

68

Norwalk

17.34%

157

9,916

16

Norwich

11.84%

137

8,809

46

Old Lyme

3.53%

27

9,347

27

Old Saybrook

6.00%

80

8,035

92

Orange

3.59%

30

8,717

49

Oxford

6.91%

95

7,957

101

Plainfield

13.50%

147

7,830

109

Plainville

7.15%

99

8,265

73

Plymouth

9.39%

123

7,696

119

Pomfret

5.95%

79

6,817

167

Portland

4.58%

48

7,942

102

Preston

8.11%

112

9,217

34

Prospect

5.77%

76

7,091

161

Putnam

17.48%

158

8,536

59

Redding

3.48%

26

9,889

17

Ridgefield

2.37%

5

8,611

54

Rocky Hill

4.34%

44

8,435

65

Roxbury

5.76%

75

10,118

12

Salem

7.59%

105

7,572

133

Salisbury

2.83%

10

9,584

21

Scotland

13.51%

148

8,929

41

Seymour

6.52%

91

7,470

138

Sharon

5.61%

69

10,047

14

Shelton

6.49%

90

7,769

115

Sherman

3.04%

16

7,184

153

Simsbury

1.63%

2

7,632

126

Somers

5.33%

66

$7,900

104

South Windsor

4.92%

60

7,398

145

Southbury

2.53%

7

7,670

122

Southington

6.07%

85

7,791

110

Sprague

12.76%

142

7,192

152

Stafford

8.21%

115

8,002

95

Stamford

17.82%

160

10,179

8

Sterling

11.49%

136

7,573

132

Stonington

8.32%

116

8,209

76

Stratford

9.54%

124

7,989

97

Suffield

4.54%

47

6,902

166

Thomaston

8.83%

120

7,114

159

Thompson

12.13%

139

7,422

143

Tolland

4.46%

46

6,931

164

Torrington

9.89%

127

7,591

129

Trumbull

3.35%

24

7,785

112

Union

2.95%

14

7,357

149

Vernon

8.81%

119

8,563

56

Voluntown

9.98%

129

7,357

150

Wallingford

5.54%

68

7,673

120

Warren

2.28%

4

9,290

32

Washington

9.88%

126

10,118

13

Waterbury

27.50%

165

9,071

38

Waterford

4.16%

41

9,721

19

Watertown

4.84%

57

7,134

156

West Hartford

6.04%

83

8,488

60

West Haven

13.28%

146

8,248

74

Westbrook

5.74%

74

7,979

98

Weston

3.31%

22

11,065

4

Westport

2.87%

12

11,144

3

Wethersfield

5.81%

77

8,281

70

Willington

8.21%

114

8,704

50

Wilton

1.79%

3

8,624

53

Winchester

12.52%

140

9,480

23

Windham

31.71%

168

10,162

10

Windsor

14.57%

151

8,079

89

Windsor Locks

9.70%

125

7,451

140

Wolcott

7.63%

106

$6,678

168

Woodbridge

3.80%

34

8,700

51

Woodbury

6.28%

88

8,032

94

Woodstock

7.05%

97

7,049

162

AS/JL:ro

1 Net current expenditures per-pupil differ from total expenditures per-pupil by not counting expenditures for school transportation, capital equipment or tuition receipts for out-of-district students.