By Allen Park
The Mirror Staff
“We should absolutely celebrate progress, but it shouldn’t take 100 years to close achievement gaps. At our current rate in LA and across the state, that could be the reality.”
Tests on The Low
November 9, 2017
LAUSD: The Los Angeles Unified School District is lagging behind in standardized test scores with minimal increases in percentages.
Although standardized test scores rose overall in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the 2016-17 school year, increases were minimal and the district is lagging behind in both state and national achievement.
Approximately 3.2 million students in the state took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), better known as the Smarter Balanced or Common Core test, this past year.
The results of the test are classified into four categories: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met and standard not met.
On the English portion of the exam, 39.55 percent of LAUSD students met or exceeded the ELA standard, compared to 39 percent last year.
On the mathematics portion, 29.86 percent met or exceeded the standard, compared to the 29 percent last year.
In comparison, within the entire state, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the ELA standard was 48.56 percent, which is a decrease from the 49 percent of the previous year.
Along with this, 37.56 percent of students across the state met or exceeded the math standard, which is an increase from 37 percent of the previous year.
LAUSD chose to round up the increases when they published the results, while the state showed the values in decimals.
“The state is releasing scores to the decimal point, as opposed to rounded, to ensure the utmost accuracy in reporting results,” a California Department of Education spokesman said.
The results are displayed in decimals to show the small increases.
In 2015, the first year of this new testing, students were told that the test would only be for practice, so it would be reasonable to say that many students did not take the test seriously.
But the following year, even though students were to take the exam officially, scores barely increased by a few points.
Many officials are discouraged by these results.
The newly elected school board president, Mónica García, says she plans on finding the schools that improved the most and applying their techniques throughout the district.
“Overall, I have to say we all know we have a lot of work to do,” said García. “We all know the system is building itself, but our goals for student learning are challenging all of us.”
Many critics of the scores mention the lack of urgency that state school officials show.
“We should absolutely celebrate progress, but it shouldn’t take 100 years to close achievement gaps. At our current rate in L.A. and across the state, that could be the reality,” said Ryan Smith, executive director of The Education Trust-West, an organization that aims to study opportunity gaps between students across the country.