NEW HAVEN — Results of the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) confirm that Connecticut continues to have the greatest achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students in the nation.

And it’s getting wider. Since 2009, the average achievement discrepancy between low- and higher-income students on fourth- and eighth-grade reading tests increased from 2.97 to 3.1 grade levels, while on math tests the disparity widened slightly to 3.2 grade levels. That means low-income students are three years on average behind their more affluent peers.

“Connecticut has taken only incremental steps toward the policy changes needed to begin closing the achievement gap, particularly when compared to neighboring states like Massachusetts and New York,” said Peyton R. Patterson, who chairs the New Haven-based Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

“We need to build the momentum to change our current direction and make fundamental education reform a reality for our students,” Patterson added.

 HAMDEN  — Four of the nation’s most prominent corporate executives are heading back to the college classroom.

Robert Castrignano, principal of Sandler O’Neill + Partners, LP; David M. Darst, managing director and chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; James W. McGlothlin, chairman & CEO of the United Co.; and William C. Weldon, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to team-teach a capstone course on leadership at the Quinnipiac University School of Business in the spring 2013 semester.

Donald Weinbach, Quinnipiac’s vice president for development and alumni affairs, said the four executives will be the first to teach in the university’s new Executive Professor Program, which will bring current and past corporate leaders to campus to teach classes in QU’s AACSB-accredited School of Business.

“It's critically important that business students understand and appreciate the leadership challenges that business executives face,” said Matthew O’Connor, dean of the School of Business. “I can think of no better way for students to learn about these issues than by a senior seminar on leadership that is co-taught by CEOs and directors of leading firms. This will be a wonderful experience for our students.”

Weinbach made the announcement at Quinnipiac’s ninth annual Business Leader Hall of Fame dinner held November 3 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. At the event, Darst and McGlothlin were inducted into the Business Leader Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding leaders who serve as inspirational figures for young people entering the world of business. Weldon, a Quinnipiac alumnus and secretary of the university’s board of trustees, was inducted into the Business Leader Hall of Fame in 2004.

 NORTH HAVEN — The Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce held its 69th annual meeting and luncheon at Fantasia in North Haven on May 19th. The QChamber recognized outgoing board of directors and elected new directors. Scholarships were also presented to seven graduating students thanks to the largess of the Frederick DeLuca Foundation, QBEF/Cellular Connection, the Executive Auto Group and Roberts Chrysler Dodge. Nucor Steel Connecticut Inc. and Michaels’s Trattoria, both of Wallingford, were named Shining Stars for their commitment to business and the community. Also, the B.C. Bailey Funeral Home — identified as the oldest extant business in Wallingford — was presented with a plaque.