Standardized tests scores higher in some Sacramento area schools than state average

The statewide scores for standardized tests measuring Common Core standards fell flat in the 2016-17 school year.

The California Department of Education (CDE) released the scores Wednesday for the online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests in English language arts and mathematics. The results showed that more than half of the state's students failed meeting the standard for English, and even more students missed the math standard.

The CAASPP test applies to students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 11. This year, 3.2 million students participated in state testing, according to the CDE's press statement.

This is the third year the state has used the Smarter Balanced tests as part of the CAASPP system. The new computer-based tests are a digital transition from the pen and pencil multiple choice test used in the past.

With the computer adaptive tests, the computer gives follow-up questions based on the student's real time answers. If a student answers a question correctly, they get a more difficult question and if they answer incorrectly, they get an easier question.

Smarter Balanced tests also call upon students to complete a performance task where they are asked to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problem solving.

Scores on the assessments fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met.

While scores this year improved since the first year Smart Balanced testing was used in 2015, there wasn't a significant difference from last year's scores overall. 

The English scores slightly slipped from last year's results from 49 percent to 48.56 percent of students meeting or exceeding the standard. Math scores were higher than last year's but just barely, from 37 to 37.56 percent of students meeting the standard. Regardless of the slight changes in the scores, the overall picture for standardized test scores in California are bleak.

More than 60 percent of students failed math and nearly 50 percent failed the English portion of the test across the state.

Only about 32 percent of 11th grade students passed the math standard while close to 56 percent passed the English test. This is an issue, because many California colleges look at the scores as a sign of readiness for college-level coursework. 

It's difficult to compare student progress in California to the rest of the U.S. since each state differs in testing approach. 

"California is aware of some of the scores in other states, but it is generally not useful to compare." said Scott Roark, spokesperson for the CDE in an email to ABC10. "California students take different tests than students in many states and has a student population that is dramatically different than the population in other states."

However, ABC10 did look at overall test scores in the four Sacramento area counties.

  • In Sacramento County, 45.48 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for English while only 36.15 percent of students met or exceeded the math standard, which almost mirrors the state scores.
  • In Yolo County, 47.96 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for English while 38.52 percent of students met or exceeded the math standard.
  • Placer County students scored much higher than the state average with 63.02 percent of students who met or exceeded the standard for English and 52.14 percent of students who met or exceeded the math standard.
  • In El Dorado County, 60.2 percent of students met or exceeded the standard for English while 49.72 percent of students met or exceeded the math standard. Just like Placer County, both scores were significantly higher than the state average.

To view test scores by district or school, visit the CAASPP website.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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