Students Improve Testing Scores, But Most Don’t Meet New Standards

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Students in California improved their scores on an annual statewide exam but most still aren’t meeting the more challenging standards for math and reading.

Scores released Wednesday show 37 percent of students tested as meeting or exceeding the state’s math standards on the Smarter Balanced exam. Reading scores were higher: 49 percent across all grades meeting or exceeding standards in English.

Students in California and many other states across the nation took the new Common Core-aligned exam by computer for the first time last year.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said rising scores can be attributed to more familiarity with taking the test online, an extra year of teaching the new state standards and improvements in technology.

CBS2’s Kristine Lazar reported from a school in Arleta that exceeded the state standards.

When teacher Kelly Neate started teaching the core curriculum five years ago, she acknowledges now that she was a bit skeptical.

“When you look at what you’re going to be putting in front of these students,” Neate said, “you think, this seems very challenging and difficult. Especially at the third grade level.”

She says most of her students have caught on. Even if their parents are still skeptical.

“People don’t love change,” Neate says, “so I think that’s very hard for them. They always think the old way is the best way to do something.”

The new way is apparently working at Vena Avenue Elementary School in Arleta. In 2015, 44 percent of students were on par with the state requirements for English  and this year that number has jumped to 66 percent.  In math, that school had 43 percent on par in 2015. A year later? The number is now 52 percent.

“I really think it makes students think,” says principal Sonia Baron. “They’re not memorizing things. They’re explaining, they’ll collaborating with each other.”

Based on reports from the state Dept. of Education, the test stats for Southern California counties are as follows:

LOS ANGELES COUNTY
46% met or exceeded standards in English
35% met or exceeded standards in Math

ORANGE COUNTY
57% met or exceeded standards in English
48% met or exceeded standards in Math

RIVERSIDE COUNTY
45% met or exceeded standards in English
31% met or exceeded standards in Math

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
41% met or exceeded standards in English
28% met or exceeded standards in Math

VENTURA CO
48% met or exceeded standards in English
36% met or exceeded standards in Math

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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