I’m sure this means the schools need more money.
Sacramento Bee: California released scores for new Common Core-based standardized tests today with performance as expected – much lower than in past years.
Most students in the Sacramento region and statewide failed to meet English or math standards under the more rigorous California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, which replaces the former STAR tests.
About 41 percent of Sacramento County students met or exceeded English-Language Arts standards, compared to 44 percent of students statewide. Roughly 33 percent of Sacramento County students met or exceeded math standards, similar to the statewide rate.
Education leaders warned that the new results cannot be compared to past performance given the dramatic difference in how Common Core-based testing is conducted. But under the old tests, 54 percent of Sacramento County students scored at or above proficient on English-Language Arts STAR tests in 2013 and about 59 percent of the county’s students scored at or above proficient on math STAR tests.
The math and English tests, administered to 3.2 million California students in third through eighth grades and 11th grade, will serve as a baseline to measure progress in future years and should not be compared to results from the state’s previous STAR tests, said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a statement.
“California’s new standards and tests are challenging for schools to teach and for students to learn, so I am encouraged that many students are at or near achievement standards,” he said. “However, just as we expected, many students need to make more progress. Our job is to support students, teachers and schools as they do.”
Students in Placer and El Dorado counties fared better than those in Sacramento County, with a small majority meeting or exceeding English standards. None of the region’s four counties, which also includes Yolo, saw a majority of students meet math standards, though Placer and El Dorado students came close.
At the district level, Roseville Joint Union High School District posted the best English scores as 78 percent of its students met or exceeded standards. The lowest English scores were at the Robla Elementary School District, where 25 percent of students met English standards.
Sacramento-area school districts have been preparing parents for lower test scores for some time. San Juan Unified posted a letter to parents on its website and in a newsletter warning about lower test scores.
“Everybody from the school district to the state is trying to message that it will take some time,” said Kim Minugh, San Juan Unified spokeswoman. “We are asking a lot from our students that we haven’t in the past. The scores aren’t going to reflect that immediately. We do need some time.”
She said the district is using the data from the state assessment as well as its own tests to adjust instruction. “We need to do better and we think we already are starting that journey,” she said.
Other states also have experienced a significant performance decline in the first year of the new test. In 2013, the percentage of New York students that scored at a proficient level fell from 55 percent to 31 percent in English and language arts and from nearly 65 percent to 31 percent in math.
The potential for that kind of drop put parents and educators on edge. California education leaders have decided not to use this year’s test to determine each school’s Academic Performance Index, a compilation of student test scores that in past years allowed for school comparisons across the state.
Parents will see big differences when they get individual student scores in the coming weeks. Gone are the “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic,” “below basic” or “far below basic” performance levels of the previous Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results for English and math. In their place are “standard not met,” “standard nearly met,” “standard met” and “standard exceeded.”
California Teachers Association President Eric Heins issued this statement today about the state’s release of student test scores from the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP):
“Educators and parents know that a statewide test score is just one component of measuring student progress. Any true assessment of student achievement always includes multiple measures, including classroom assignments and assessments by local teachers.
Our students will always be more than a test score. We need to allow all students time for exploration, discovery and awe. We need to let them experience the wonder of learning. With the state’s school funding formula and more community control over targeting resources, students, parents, educators and administrators are working together in exciting ways. It’s a work in progress, but it’s also a work about real progress that’s being made by educators, parents and communities coming together to help all students fulfill their dreams.”