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Students Make Gains in New Annual State Test

In the second year of the administration of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), Santa Clara Unified School District students showed gains on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in both English Language Arts and Mathematics. Gains were made both overall, and for nearly every subgroup of students. Progress in the percent of students Meeting or Exceeding Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics exceeded the progress of both Santa Clara County and the state overall. The Smarter Balanced Assessments assess grades 3-8 and grade 11 each spring on more rigorous college and career-ready standards than previous state testing.

In an initial analysis of Santa Clara USD results, the following highlights were noted:

  • In five of the seven significant subgroups, Santa Clara Unified increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics assessments.
  • For the ELA assessments, 57 percent of Santa Clara Unified students reached the Standard Met or Standard Exceeded achievement levels compared to 49 percent of students statewide.
  • For the mathematics assessments, 49 percent of Santa Clara Unified students reached the Standard Met or Standard Exceeded achievement levels compared to 37 percent of students statewide.
  • Santa Clara Unified students met or exceeded standards at higher rates than their statewide counterparts at all grade levels (grades 3-8 and 11) on the ELA and mathematics assessments.
  • In English Language Arts, Santa Clara Unified students equaled or bettered their statewide counterparts in 5 of 7 significant subgroups achieving at the Standard Met or Standard Exceeded levels.
  • In Mathematics, Santa Clara Unified students equaled or bettered their statewide counterparts in 6 of 7 significant subgroups achieving at the Standard Met or Standard Exceeded levels.

The results also show that some challenges remain:

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  • Although Santa Clara Unified made progress in narrowing the achievement gaps between subgroups; similar to state and county results, substantial achievement gaps still remain between significant subgroups of students especially economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and English Learners.
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Santa Clara Unified’s LCAP is specifically focused on accelerating the improvement for our significant subgroups by providing research-based interventions, standards-aligned curriculum and targeted professional development for teachers in our ongoing efforts to address these challenges.

CAASPP replaces the previous Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system and consists of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Students take both a computer-based and computer-adaptive test, providing them with a wider range of questions tailored to more accurately identify the knowledge and skills they have mastered. The tests also include performance tasks that challenge students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving, and to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems.

Assessments are based on a growth model that allows the California Department of Education to produce comparisons that can track students’ progress through the grade levels. The results should not be compared to results of the outmoded STAR system as they are far too different to make any valid comparisons.

The new computer-based tests also include support for English learners and students with special needs, allowing these students the ability to effectively demonstrate their knowledge and skills – critical information to the classroom teachers.

Individual student results are just one way to assess the progress of students. Students and parents should review the test results in combination with report cards, class assignment grades, and teacher feedback. Additional information, along with state, county, district and school-level test results can be accessed directly at: http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2016/default

About Santa Clara Unified School District

Santa Clara Unified School District serves over 15,300 TK-12 students, in addition to students in Preschool through Adult School. Neighborhoods in the Cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Cupertino comprise the District’s 56 square-mile area. Santa Clara Unified prides itself on having teachers, classified employees and administrators who are dedicated, experienced professionals who care about each student’s well-being and academic preparation.

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