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California Department of Education releases District CAASPP Test Results

Based on the data released today from the California Department of Education (CDE), nearly a third of the West Contra Costa Unified School District students who took California's new online assessments last Spring met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts/Literacy. For Mathematics, just under a quarter of the students scored at met or exceeded.

The results are from the 2015 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Individual score reports will be mailed out to parents. CAASPP includes multiple assessments, but the most widely given are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which evaluate student progress on the California standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy (often referred to as the Common Core State Standards).

In English Language Arts/Literacy, 32 percent of students met or exceeded standards and another 26 percent nearly met the standard. On the Mathematics portion, 23 percent of District students met or exceeded the new standards and 26 percent nearly met the standard. Scores can be found on the state’s CAASPP Results website.

“The new standards and assessments are more rigorous than in previous years,” said Assistant Superintendent Nia Rashidchi. “We, like other districts and the state, anticipated that fewer students would meet/exceed standards than did so on the old California Standards Tests (CSTs).  But, the results also mean that the bar has been raised when it comes to defining student academic success, and we must “step-up” our game to rise to the challenge.”

The scores are new baseline results from which teachers and administrators will be able to partially measure student progress, Rashidchi said.

“It is important to understand that these scores cannot be compared to the California Standards Test for English Language Arts and Mathematics, given in previous years, because the standards and the tests that assess student progress have substantially changed,” Rashidchi said.

The CAASPP tests were given to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. They consist of two parts that measure depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills. First, there is an adaptive test taken on a computer that gives students different follow-up questions based on their responses. Second, there is a performance task that challenges students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems.

In contrast, former state assessments were multiple-choice, paper-based tests in which students, for the most part, filled in bubbles on paper and could more easily guess correct answers.

On CAASPP, students’ overall scores fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The scores are one of several measures of student progress and are used in conjunction with grades, District local benchmarks, language acquisition and proficiency test results, and school level formative assessments to monitor progress and overall student achievement, Rashidchi said.

“We believe the District is on the right path as we move forward into the new standards…our teachers, principals, parents, central office staff, and community are working hard to ensure that our students are college and career ready, able to make life choices with productive and positive outcomes,” Rashidchi said. “The results do tell us that we have to accelerate our progress to ensure that more of our students are able to meet/exceed the new standards. We believe the initiatives adopted in our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) are having a positive impact on student achievement and will continue to do so.”