Progress and opportunities in statewide assessments

October 10, 2017

San José Unified School District continued to outperform statewide results and many comparable districts in the third year of Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessment exams, according to data recently released by the California Department of Education (CDE).

San José Unified students bested statewide results for meeting or exceeding standards at all grade levels in Language Arts and Mathematics. The district also outperformed overall results in Language Arts and Mathematics in six of nine California districts of similar size and diversity, which the district uses to benchmark their progress. San José Unified’s results were statistically even with the other three.

The district also continued to see progress in key areas where they have made a significant investment in improvement:

  • A focus on early literacy has led to gains with the district’s 5th-grade cohort. As 3rd graders, nearly one third (31%) were not meeting the standard in Language Arts. In 2017, only one quarter (25%) of these students did not meet standard.
  • Meanwhile, 6th and 7th-grade cohorts showed year-over-year growth in Mathematics, reflecting an emphasis on additional coaching and instructional support for teachers; implementation of a rigorous, Common Core-aligned curriculum with a focus on real-world application of math concepts; and strategic use of technology.
  • Encouraging progress can also be seen at many grade levels for English Learners and economically disadvantaged students. The district continues to identify new tools and approaches to support these students.

“The latest results show that our focus on early literacy and middle school math are helping to elevate opportunities for our students,” said Superintendent Nancy Abarrán. “We are already using this data to identify areas where more attention or a different approach is needed, but assessment results are only one piece of the puzzle.”

The CDE State Dashboard takes into account a variety of factors to gauge performance, including SBAC scores, graduation and suspension rates, and college and career readiness. This is part of a nationwide shift toward broader and more comprehensive measures of success.

San José Unified is supporting college and career readiness for high school students by investing in free PSAT and SAT days on campus and focusing on retention and diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.

“Our goal is to ensure our students are set up to have choices, not limitations, when it comes to life after graduation,” Superintendent Albarrán continued.

Students in grades 3 through 8 along with those in grade 11 took the SBAC exams for the first time during the 2014-15 school year. The assessments are completely online and feature a variety of different types of questions. With more short answers and extended responses, the assessments require a deeper understanding of key concepts.

Click here to view complete SBAC results at the state, county, district, and school level.