The California Department of Education released today the student performance results for the 2015/16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), with the data showing William S. Hart Union High School District students demonstrating significant increases from the previous year and continuing to perform higher than their peers county-wide.
The CAASPP is the state’s annual academic assessment program measuring how well students have mastered the Common Core English language arts and mathematics standards which were adopted by the state in 2010.
“Even if our numbers had stayed the same, they are impressive, especially compared to county and state scores,” noted David LeBarron, Director of Curriculum and Assessment for the Hart School District.
The tests, taken last spring by approximately 10,300 7th, 8th, and 11th grade students, measure student proficiency in the state’s academic content standards – the specific content that students are expected to master at each grade level.
Student scores on the CAASPP tests fall into one of four performance levels, ranging from standard not met, standard nearly met, standard met, and standard exceeded. The goal is to increase the percentage of students scoring standard met and above, while decreasing the percentage of students who score standard nearly met and below.
In English/Language arts, 69% of 7th graders in the Hart School District met or exceeded the standard performance level, 66% of 8th graders and 82% of 11th graders. The percentage of Hart School District students scoring at the Met Standard or Exceeded Standard performance levels surpassed the percentage of Los Angeles County students by more than 16% at the junior highs and more than 24% at the high schools.
In mathematics, 53% of 7th graders in the Hart School District met or exceeded the standard performance level, 54% of 8th graders and 50% of 11th graders. The percentage of Hart School District students scoring at the Met Standard or Exceeded Standard performance levels surpassed the percentage of Los Angeles County students by more than 20% at both the junior high and high schools.
The trend of increasing the percent of students scoring in the met and exceeded standard performance levels and out performing your county peers was carried on by all of the Hart School District’s significant subgroups. Students in these groups accomplished this in both the English language arts and mathematics assessments.
“Our goal is not to improve test scores on the CAASPP,” LeBarron explained. “Our goal is to be sure that our students are well educated and challenged to their highest ability level and as a result, they do perform well on the annual state assessments.
“Hart District students do very well on state assessments because we place a strong focus on ensuring that our students are taught the State’s academic content standards, which is what the tests assess,” LeBarron continued. “Every one of our schools has a professional development plan that focuses on research-based programs that improve student learning.”
The importance of CAASPP results goes well beyond the local perceptions of our schools. Every school in the Hart District will be looking at its test data to assess its performance and to help determine the areas needing more attention, which include curriculum, grade levels, and student subgroups.
“The true purpose of a test is to give us information we can use,” LeBarron continued. “We need to analyze the results and determine where we did well and were we can do better. Every school is doing that.”
Le Barron noted that the CAASPP scores are only one piece of the assessment picture, but they are the piece that is the largest for the public.
“We take it very seriously,” he concluded. “Our students’ performance on the state assessments is a measure we use to evaluate our instructional programs.”