Orange County students once again outpaced their Southern California peers in statewide standardized English and math testing, though scores remained about even with last year’s results.
And, for the third year in a row, Orange County fell short of having at least half of its students considered proficient in math.
Across Southern California, students showed modest improvements or held steady in the third year of the Common Core math and English exams that replaced STAR testing in 2015. Statewide, scores remained more or less flat compared to 2016, according to the data released Wednesday, Sept. 27, by the California Department of Education.
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests are meant to give parents and educators a better sense of whether students, schools and districts are reaching or exceeding academic baselines. Roughly 3.2 million students in third- through eighth-grade and 11th-grade took the online tests, which stress critical thinking, problem-solving and preparing students for the real world.
Just under half of all California students taking the test met or exceeded English standards, while fewer than four in 10 did the same in math.
“It’s important to remember that these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests,” Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, said in a statement. “We are asking more of our students, but for a good reason – so they are better prepared for the world of college and careers.”
Orange County students beat statewide averages – a feat neighboring San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties could not achieve – with about 57 percent of students meeting or exceeding English standards and 48 percent hitting math goals, the data showed.
Al Mijares, the superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education, said the relatively slow growth rate from year-to-year is a testament to the “monumental task of shifting to more challenging instructional standards based on real-world applications.” Still, he said, it’s good that the county continues to do better on average than the state and Southern California.
“We are pleased that Orange County students continue to outpace state and regional averages,” Mijare said in a statement. “At the same time, our local districts remain committed to increasing proficiency rates and closing longstanding achievement gaps through data-driven…