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District Reference Groups (DRGs)

Dec 11, 2023 - less than 1 minute

The District Reference Groups (DRGs) are a classification system that groups local and regional public school districts together based on the similar socioeconomic status of their students. Developed by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), the DRGs have not been officially updated since they were first released in 2006.

Using the same methodology and variables used by the CSDE in the original creation of the DRGs, the School and State Finance Project has updated the DRGs for 2023 using the most recent data. Similar to the DRGs we created in 2016, these 2023 DRGs are not official and meant only for research and reference use.

The DRGs were originally created to make comparisons among districts and to provide both district leaders and policymakers with helpful context when making resource decisions. The DRGs were not, however, created to rank districts and schools, or provide an indicator of school quality.

Although the DRGs provide a way for district leaders and policymakers to make comparisons between districts, they fail to account for the experience of students, and the barriers that lead to, and exacerbate, disparities in education opportunities and outcomes. The DRGs are part of the picture in understanding education in Connecticut but must be complemented with an understanding of segregation, resources, staffing, and outcomes.

Citation for Webpage

School and State Finance Project. (2023, December 11). District Reference Groups (DRGs). Retrieved from

Citation for Summary

School and State Finance Project. (2023). District Reference Groups. Hamden, CT: Author. Retrieved from


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