Test results released Wednesday by the California Department of Education set a new baseline for academic performance of students, schools and districts. The tests set standards at readiness for college unlike the old, multiple-choice tests they replaced. Results, in combination with new online instructional resources and local accountability tools, give parents, educators and stakeholders much more actionable data than ever before.
The results show that 53 percent of California’s students meet or nearly meet the English Language Arts achievement standards, and 48 percent meet or nearly meet the mathematics achievement standards. One of 10 students exceeds the standards for both subjects. At every grade level, English Language Arts results are stronger for girls than for boys. The results for math show much less gender disparity. Results for students from traditionally disadvantaged groups show significant achievement gaps.
These new tests aligned with the Common Core Standards ask a lot more of students than the old, multiple-choice exams. The new tests use computer adaptive technology to provide more accurate information about individual student performance. Along with reading to follow a story, students are asked to cite evidence and draw logical conclusions. They are using math to solve real-world problems.