California’s public school students did much better the second year they took new standardized tests, and the state is catching up to others that use the same Smarter Balanced tests. PPIC researchers Iwunze Ugo and Laura Hill take a close look at the test results in a new report, Student Achievement and Growth on California’s K–12 Assessments, which Ugo presented at a Sacramento briefing last week.
The researchers used two years of results to assess early implementation of two major statewide reforms—the Common Core curriculum and the new finance system that targets additional funding toward low-income students, English Learners, and foster youth. The PPIC report looks in depth at the test results for English Learners and economically disadvantaged students and finds that achievement gaps are not closing. Of particular concern are the districts and schools experiencing both low achievement and low growth in achievement between the first year and the second year of testing. This suggests that students who were already lagging their peers could be falling further behind.
The researchers conclude that struggling districts may need more guidance from the state—and might also look to schools and districts that have had success with high-need students.
Read the report Student Achievement and Growth on California’s K–12 Assessments