California’s Common Core Test Results Reveal Big Achievement Gaps

Common Core

California’s Common Core Test Results Reveal Big Achievement Gaps

By Tony Wan     Sep 9, 2015

California’s Common Core Test Results Reveal Big Achievement Gaps

California’s Common Core results are in, and—as expected—the results leave much to be desired. Of the 3.2 million students in grades 3 to 8 and grade 11 who took the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) tests last spring, just 44 percent met or exceeded proficiency standards for English language arts, and 34 percent did so for math.

Unlike states like New York where the parent opposition to testing led to many students opting out of tests, “less than 1 percent of California students did not take the assessment resulting from a parental exemption,” according to the the California Department of Education.

More details about how students performed are available on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) website, which breaks down results by county, district or school or grade levels. The tool also shows how different gender, ethnic and economic populations performed.

There are some notable disparities in how different groups performed: 65 percent of English language learners, 46 percent of African-American students, 41 percent of Native American students and 39 percent of Hispanic students scored in the lowest grade category (“Standard Not Met”), versus 12 percent for Asian students and 18 percent for white students. The gap is even more pronounced for the mathematics portion of the test. And students in non-economically disadvantaged households were more than twice as likely to meet or exceed proficiency standards than their less fortunate peers.

EdSource has compiled a list of press releases and letters sent to parents by districts following the release of the scores. Most groups agree with Torlakson’s statement that the first-year results offer a useful “starting point” that outline the work ahead to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps. This year’s test results will not be used in any formal teacher evaluations.

A report from Teach Plus (PDF) found that while California teachers agreed the SBAC tests “represent a significant improvement over the previous California Standards Test,” many “do not believe that students and teachers in California are receiving adequate technological support to be successful on the SBAC.”

California’s results lag behind those of its northern neighbor, Oregon, which reported 55 percent and 45 percent of students meeting or exceeding proficiency targets, respectively, in reading and math. SBAC results for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia have also been released, CBS News reports.

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