OC students continue steady progress in latest performance assessments

For the fourth consecutive year, Orange County students outpaced their peers statewide on math and English standardized tests, according to figures released today.

Overall, local scores from the 2018 Smarter Balanced Assessments improved at nearly every grade level by one to four percentage points compared to scores from the previous year.

An image of young students using desktop computersThese tests, part of the state’s redesigned accountability system that debuted in 2014, are the primary measure for student achievement in math and English language arts. They’re also the main component of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress system, or CAASPP.

Last spring, more than 3 million students statewide in grades 3 through 8 and 11 took the tests, which were administered online. About 263,000 students in Orange County were tested.

“Results from these exams designed to more accurately measure skills that help prepare students for college and careers show that our local schools are moving in the right direction,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares.

“But it’s also important to remember that test scores are one piece of a comprehensive state instructional model our schools are now adopting, one that also integrates support for students’ behavioral and social-emotional needs,” Mijares added.

Today’s scores will make up a key ingredient of the California School Dashboard, the new accountability system that replaced the Academic Performance Index. These test scores will be used in conjunction with suspension rates, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism figures, college and career readiness data, and other information to determine if schools and districts are making enough progress in support of student success. The Dashboard will be released in coming weeks.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s test score release:

  • OC 11th-graders showed the highest percentages of meeting or exceeding standards in English at 63 percent.
  • In math, 58 percent of OC third-graders met or exceeded standards, surpassing statewide third-grade results by 9 percentage points.
  • Thirty-two percent of 11th-graders in English and 19 percent in mathematics exceeded state standards, meaning they are considered ready for English and/or mathematics college-level coursework and are exempt from taking California State University and California community colleges’ English and math placement exams, if they plan to attend one of those campuses upon graduation.
  • Today’s release also includes the California Alternate Assessments results (CAA ELA/Math) and Standards-based Tests in Spanish for reading/language arts in grades two through eleven.
  • Parents, educators and community members can review state-, county-, district- and school-level reports by visiting the CAASPP website.
  • Results for individual students were mailed home to parents or guardians last month. Those with specific questions about their child’s scores can check with the student’s teacher, principal or other school representative.