Imperial County – The California Department of Education has released the results from the state’s new standardized test, the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which has been established to measure students’ knowledge of the current and more rigorous academic standards facing our students.
The new test consisted of two major academic content areas, English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. While the new academic standards have been applied to all K-12 grade levels, the Smarter Balanced Assessment is administered to students in grades 3 through 8, and 11. The summative scores in ELA and Math for each student are reported in the following levels: Standard Exceeded, Standard Met, Standard Nearly Met and Standard Not Met. Details about these standards and individual students’ scores will be mailed to each student’s family within the next few weeks to a month. Additionally, parents and community members can get more information about the new standards, what the scores indicate and even sample test questions at these websites:
California has adopted more rigorous academic standards that emphasize not only subject knowledge, but also the critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem-solving skills students need to be successful in college and career.
Overall 32% of Imperial County students tested either met or exceeded the state standards goal for English Language Arts, with 28% of our students nearly meeting the goal and 39% did not meet the standard.
Math scores were lower on average for Imperial County students with just 22% meeting or exceeding the state standards for mathematics. 32% nearly met the standard and almost half, 46% had not met the standard.
Comparing Imperial County test results to other California counties that have high percentages of English-Language learners provides the following:
Other Comparable Counties (scores are % that Met or Exceeded Standard)
State-wide, 44% of all California students are meeting or exceeding the ELA goal and 34% of students state-wide are meeting the goal in Math.
Because the scores represent baseline data, results in the coming years will be more significant as they measure progress.
Imperial County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Todd Finnell, commented, “We’re raising the bar for good reason – students need strong reading and math skills to graduate ready for college and a 21st century career.” When asked about about the more rigorous standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, Finnell also said that, “These new tests ask a lot more of students than the old, multiple choice exams. Students now have to explain how they solve problems, think critically and write analytically. These skills take time and effort to master, but our students need them in the long run.” Because our standards are higher, all of California’s state universities and most community colleges are now using 11th grade results as an early signal of readiness to take credit-bearing, college level courses upon enrollment. In English Language Arts, more than half of the class of 2016 is ready or conditionally ready for college work, and in math, 30 percent is ready or conditionally ready.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson stated, “California is in the process of transforming its schools with increased funding, higher academic standards, more local control and additional support for students and schools with the greatest needs – and this will take time. This is our first academic checkup on how that work is going, and so I ask parents and educators to take that into account, use this information wisely to help their students, and understand this is a baseline that we will build upon,” Torlakson said.
Addressing the gaps in achievement has been the stated purpose of California’s comprehensive plan for improving education. California’s new school funding formula now provides greater flexibility for local school districts and helps communities that have high concentrations of English-Language learners, low income students and foster youth to improve and increase services for those students.
Results for districts and individual schools can be found at www.caaspp.cde.ca.gov