Tahoe-Truckee schools perform above CA average in new testing system | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee schools perform above CA average in new testing system

Special to the Sun

The results of California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress were released Sept. 9 by the California Department of Education.

New online assessments were administered statewide this past spring to gauge students' progress in learning new, more rigorous academic standards designed to prepare them for college and careers in the 21st century.

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District's data shows when compared to statewide averages, their scholars outperformed students in virtually every area — and some areas significantly.

CAASPP includes the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which evaluate student progress on the California standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy.

Over the next few weeks and months, district administrators, teachers, and others will be jointly analyzing the data that comes from these assessments. Parents will receive an individual student score report for their child in the mail within the next few weeks.

This year, 2015, was the first year of the new tests, and they are significantly different from previous tests. Parents are cautioned not to compare them to previous results.

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"It is like comparing apples and oranges. We have new state standards that push students to develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, critical thinking and the application of what they have learned," said Rob Leri, TTUSD's superintendent. "We do not look at scores as good or bad — rather we see them as diagnostic tools. The CAASPP results will serve as a baseline for the progress we expect students to make over time and provide the district with information to help target learning and shape instruction to meet students' academic needs."

Students' scores fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met.

District-wide, 53 percent of TTUSD students met or exceeded the English language arts/literacy standard, and 44 percent met or exceeded the mathematics standard.

When compared to statewide results of 44 percent for English language arts and 34 percent for math, TTUSD is 9 percent and 11 percent higher, respectively.

State testing results show an achievement gap among students from low-income families, English learners, and some ethnic groups when compared to other students.

"While we have made progress, the CAASPP results confirm that work still needs to be done," Leri said. "We are committed to continuing to close and eliminate the achievement gap that exists within our district."

Some highlights of TTUSD's results include:

• Almost 75% are at/nearly at or above standards in the writing component of the English language arts section.

• Almost 80% are at/nearly at or above standards in the listening component that is essential in effective communication skills.

• Scholars demonstrated strong research skills with 80% being at/nearly at or above standards. This is an essential skill in being college and career ready.

• Almost every grade level performed at 70% or above in problem-solving and data analysis.

• Results for 11th-grade students show that the new rigorous standards are preparing them to be successful in the 21st Century.

"We are extremely proud of our teachers and staff and their dedication to our scholars," Leri said. "As we review this new data, we encourage everyone to remember that while assessments are important, they are only one piece of a large puzzle that informs great instruction and student success."

This article was submitted by the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit ttusd.org for more.