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New CAASPP Test Results Show Little Change in Academic Performance

October 2, 2017

On September 27, the California Department of Education released the 2017 scores for the online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests in English language arts and mathematics remained steady and retained the strong gains students made in 2016.

This is the third year of the computer-based tests, which use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and 21st century careers.

Torlakson said he was pleased that students maintained the progress they have made since the initial year of testing and urged students, teachers, and parents to continue to aim high.

“I’m pleased we retained our gains, but we have much more work to do. We need to work diligently to narrow achievement gaps and make sure all students continue to make progress,” he said. “It’s important to remember that these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests. We are asking more of our students, but for a good reason – so they are better prepared for the world of college and careers.”

State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst said California is moving in the right direction – both the high school graduation rate and college eligibility rate are at all-time highs – but there is more work ahead to ensure that students can demonstrate a mastery of standards through testing. “We would like to attain the same progress on our new assessments that California is experiencing on other measures of school success,” Kirst said.

The California Department of Education (CDE) routinely shares test data with individual school districts to verify accuracy prior to public release of statewide results. When small discrepancies were found in August in some schools in San Diego, CDE delayed the official release to make certain all statewide results were completely accurate.

California testing went smoothly for 3.2 million total students. On a single day (May 9, 2017), nearly 500,000 students took the online tests, the largest single day of such assessments ever. The most widely used tests are the Smarter Balanced Assessments in mathematics and English language arts/literacy, which are given in grades three through eight and grade 11. School districts have had access to their own results since May. Parents received individual student scores over the summer.

For the third year in a row, less than 1 percent of students did not take part in the assessments due to a parental exemption, a figure that is far less than in other states where similar tests remain controversial.

Torlakson thanked educators, parents, students, and community leaders for the high participation rates. The tests are part of California’s overhaul of education, which includes new standards, more local control and participation in school funding decisions, more resources for those with the greatest needs, and the California School Dashboard, a new way of evaluating schools and districts based on multiple measures of success, including test scores, college and career readiness, and graduation rates.

“The high rates of participation showcase the California Way, which involves working together for positive change in education,” said Torlakson. “They also show strong support for using one common yardstick to measure the skills of all students.

Smarter Balanced tests consist of two parts: a computer adaptive assessment and a performance task. The computer assessment bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers in real time and gives a more accurate picture of progress than paper-and-pencil, multiple choice tests. If a student answers a question correctly, they get a more difficult question. If they answer incorrectly, they get an easier question.

The performance task challenges students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills more thoroughly than the previous multiple choice paper tests.

Scores on the assessments fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The state also computes the average scores of all tested students, by grade level, called “mean scale” scores, which reflects the progress of all students rather than only those who changed achievement levels from one year to the next.

Statewide, in all tested grades, 48.56 percent of students met or exceeded the English language arts/literacy standards (see Table 1), at 4.56 percentage points change from 2015 (see Table 3). In mathematics, 37.56 percent of students met or exceeded standards (see Table 2), also an increase of 4.56 percentage points from 2015 (see Table 4).

California State Universities and many community colleges consider high marks on these tests for eleventh grade students a reliable sign of readiness for college-level work. This year’s results indicate 59.76 percent of grade eleven students are ready or conditionally ready for credit bearing college work in English language arts (see Table 1), with 32.14 percent ready or conditionally ready for credit bearing college work in mathematics (see Table 2).

It is important to note that the English learner (EL) group contains only current English learners. Once English learners become fluent, they are reclassified as fluent English proficient and are no longer counted in the EL group. To better determine the progress of ELs, it is recommended to view the California School Dashboard which uses multiple measures to determine the progress of English learners.

Parents can get individual student test scores. In addition, California provides CAASPP Results Web page, where parents and teachers can view and compare aggregated results among schools, districts, and counties along with statewide results.

The California Department of Education (CDE) provides a wide range of tools to help parents, teachers, and schools understand and use CAASPP results.

These resources include an understanding student CAASPP scores Web site that provides parents and teachers with grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject information at all levels of achievement; detailed online guides for parents and teachers to use in analyzing results; and practice tests at every grade level in English and mathematics.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

Table 1: English Language Arts/Literacy


Grade

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2015

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2017

Grade 3

38

43

43.90

Grade 4

40

44

45.06

Grade 5

44

49

46.54

Grade 6

42

48

47.03

Grade 7

44

48

49.40

Grade 8

45

48

48.61

Grade 11

56

59

59.76

All Grades

44

49

48.56

Note: 2015 and 2016 achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest whole number. Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

Table 2: Mathematics


Grade

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2015

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016

Percent of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2017

Grade 3

40

46

46.83

Grade 4

35

38

40.45

Grade 5

30

33

33.83

Grade 6

33

35

36.48

Grade 7

34

36

36.91

Grade 8

33

36

36.30

Grade 11

29

33

32.14

All Grades

33

37

37.56

Note: 2015 and 2016 achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest whole number. Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

Table 3: English Language Arts/Literacy by Grade and Achievement Level


Grade

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard 2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard 
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard 
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in 2017

Percentage Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2016-2017

Percentage Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Grade 3

22.80

21.10

24.00

32.10

0.90

5.90

Grade 4

23.07

21.99

20.12

34.83

1.06

5.06

Grade 5

19.79

26.75

20.61

32.84

-2.46

2.54

Grade 6

16.50

30.53

26.20

26.72

-0.97

5.03

Grade 7

15.80

33.60

23.39

27.22

1.40

5.40

Grade 8

15.47

33.14

25.97

25.42

0.61

3.61

Grade 11

27.72

32.04

21.34

18.91

0.76

3.76

All California Students

20.12

28.44

23.09

28.35

-0.44

4.56

Note: Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

Table 4: Mathematics by Grade and Achievement Level


Grade

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percentage Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2016-2017

Percentage Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Grade 3

19.27

27.56

24.99

28.17

0.83

6.83

Grade 4

16.83

23.62

31.55

28.01

2.45

5.45

Grade 5

18.00

15.83

27.05

39.11

0.83

3.83

Grade 6

17.91

18.57

28.20

35.32

1.48

3.48

Grade 7

18.04

18.87

27.08

36.03

0.91

2.91

Grade 8

20.03

16.27

23.42

40.28

0.30

3.30

Grade 11

12.92

19.22

23.64

44.22

-0.86

3.14

All California Students

17.60

19.96

26.59

35.86

0.56

4.56

Note: Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

Table 5: English Language Arts/Literacy by Student Group and Achievement Level


Student Groups

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

All Students

3,206,556

20.12

28.44

23.09

28.35

-0.44

4.56

Student Groups - Gender

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Male

1,637,064

17.17

26.31

23.32

33.19

1.48

5.48

Female

1,569,492

23.19

30.66

22.84

23.31

-0.15

4.85

 

Student Groups - Race/Ethnicity

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Asian

296,567

45.44

30.10

13.55

10.90

0.54

3.54

Black or African American

175,466

9.32

21.91

24.52

44.25

0.23

3.23

Hispanic or Latino

1,745,728

11.23

26.05

26.58

36.14

0.28

5.28

White

751,468

30.59

33.70

19.40

16.31

0.29

3.29

Student Groups - Student Subgroups

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

English Learner (EL)

568,882

2.34

9.75

24.06

63.84

-0.91

1.09

Economically Disadvantaged

1,935,586

10.52

25.00

26.45

38.02

0.52

4.52

Students with Disability

349,687

4.14

9.72

17.97

68.17

0.86

1.86

Note: Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

Table 6: Mathematics by Student Group and Achievement Level


Student Groups

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

All Students

3,218,106

17.60

19.96

26.59

35.86

0.56

4.56

Student Groups - Gender

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Male

1,643,161

18.35

19.39

25.34

36.92

0.74

3.74

Female

1,574,945

16.81

20.56

27.89

34.75

0.37

3.37

 

Student Groups - Race/Ethnicity

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

Asian

300,380

49.42

23.27

16.11

11.20

0.69

3.69

Black or African American

175,068

5.92

13.10

25.48

55.50

1.02

3.02

Hispanic or Latino

1,752,405

8.31

16.89

29.10

45.70

1.20

4.20

White

752,059

26.81

26.04

25.59

21.56

-0.15

3.85

Student Groups - Student Subgroups

Number of Students Tested with Scores
2017

Percent of Students Who Exceeded Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Nearly Met Standard in
2017

Percent of Students Who Did Not Meet Standard in
2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard
2016-2017

Percent Point Change of Students Who Met or Exceeded Standard 2015-2017

English Learner (EL)*

583,120

3.20

9.12

23.41

64.27

0.32

1.32

Economically Disadvantaged

1,942,785

8.27

16.30

28.57

46.87

1.57

3.57

Students with Disability

348,177

4.23

6.87

15.33

73.56

0.10

2.10

Note: Beginning in 2017, achievement level percentages were reported to the nearest hundredths.

*This group contains current English learners only. Once English learners become proficient, they are no longer included in this group.

Source:  California Department of Education



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