Just over half of California students failed to meet English standards based on spring 2017 standardized test results released Wednesday, a performance that remained essentially flat compared to the previous year.
Students performed even worse on math tests, with nearly two-thirds falling short, according to the California Department of Education.
It marked the third year that California students took a new, computer-based test that adheres to Common Core State Standards, a national education approach intended to promote critical-thinking and problem-solving skills over memorization. Students in 2016 saw incremental gains before results flattened this year.
“I’m pleased we retained our gains, but we have much work to do,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction. “We need to work diligently to narrow achievement gaps and make sure students continue to make progress.”
He noted that the computer-assisted tests are more rigorous than the previous paper-and-pencil tests.
About 49 percent of students statewide met or exceeded English standards on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress in 2017, which is administered to public school students at certain grade levels each year. That’s the same proportion that met English standards in 2016.
The proportion of students meeting math standards statewide also held steady at roughly 37 percent.
In the Modesto City Schools district, Stanislaus County’s largest, 27.95 percent of elementary students met or exceeded English standard, up slightly from 27 percent in 2016. In math, 19 percent met or exceeded the standard, up from 17 percent in 2016. Among high school students, 55.92 percent met or exceeded the English standard, down from 58 percent in 2016. In math, 23.31 percent of students met or exceeded the standard, down from 25 percent in 2016.
Overall, 3.2 million students took California state standardized tests this year. The Smarter Balanced assessments in math and English language arts are taken by students in third through eighth grades and 11th grade. One percent of the state’s public schoolchildren did not take the test because of a parental exemption.
Although school districts received their scores in May, the public release was postponed until Wednesday to verify results with school districts, according to a press release from the CDE. The delay was prompted by discrepancies in the scores of students from some schools in San Diego, according to the state Department of Education. Families received the test scores over the summer.
Scores from state standardized tests are just one of the measures that will be used in a new school accountability dashboard that replaces the single Academic Performance Index score that families and educators relied upon in previous years.
The dashboard, which will launch in early December, also will rate schools on the progress of English learners, high school graduation rates, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism and, initially, suspension rates. School districts also will rely on surveys and other data to measure campuses for school climate, parent engagement, implementation of state academic standards, services for expelled students, and adequate instruction and facilities.