Feds remind Connecticut: Test students or risk losing funding

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HARTFORD -- Thousand of students opted out of the statewide achievement tests for the 2014-2015 school year and now millions of dollars in federal funding could be at stake for Connecticut if the downward trend continues when it comes to mandated testing requirements in schools.

Connecticut is one of 13 states to receive a letter from the U.S. Department of Education wanting to know why the testing numbers are down and what leaders are doing to make sure it doesn't happen again this year.

The letter reminded Connecticut on the requirements to test math and language arts, despite the end of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program and schools still need to test at least 95 percent of third through eighth grade students.

While the state of as a whole did meet federal standards when it comes to the annual assessments, there were many districts that did fall short.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act that was passed to replace NCLB leaves it up to states on how to handle schools that fail to have the mandated participation but the Feds want to be clear that the assessment requirements still remain.

Many states responded to the letter with plans of improved communication between teachers and parents about the importance of these assessments and some districts even said they would downgrade the schools rating if they missed participation targets with regard to testing.