Known for its high performance, the South Pasadena Unified School District likes the latest numbers as the California Department of Education has released the 2018-2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results for students in grades three through eight and grade eleven.
A look at the numbers over the past five years shows that South Pasadena Unified (SPUSD) has experienced a seven percent gain in the number of students meeting and exceeding English Language Arts (ELA) standards (84 percent total) and a four percent gain in the number of students meeting and exceeding Math standards (79 percent total).
“Our students continue to excel,” said South Pasadena Unified School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Christiane Gervais, who gave a detailed report on CAASPP scores during Tuesday’s SPUSD Board of Education meeting. “This level of academic excellence is indicative of the dedication and efforts of our students, teachers, and staff as well as the commitment of our parents to continuous learning.”
Gervais attributes local success to strategic intervention that the district is constantly monitoring, professional development for teachers focusing on instructional strategies and training around social and emotional learning, “caring not only about their minds but their hearts,” she said. “(There’s a) holistic focus on students and ensuring their successes. I think it bears out in test scores.”
Board of Education member Michele Kipke said, “I think these scores are amazing. The amount of progress that is made is just quite extraordinary. I just want to acknowledge all of the work, your work, the work of your office, all the work of our teachers and leadership across the district. A tremendous amount of work goes into preparing our students and teaching our students, so all this is a reflection of all that hard work, so thank you.”
Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to measure the skills of all students against the same academic standards in the same way, and the results provide information schools can use to improve teaching and learning. Given on-line, the tests are computer-adaptive, allowing more precise measurement of individual skills.
“We are one of the most diverse high-performing districts,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “SPUSD is moving all our students forward according to the state standards while also addressing students’ social-emotional needs. State test scores are only one measure of how much our students are learning.”
SPUSD President Suzie Abajian pointed out “test scores are only one indicator of how a district is doing and I’m glad that California has moved away from just assessing school districts based on test scores. But we’re also assessing schools based on school climate, surveys, and other measurements and we are doing well in all those areas.”
In August, parents and guardians received individual student score reports through the Aeries Parent Portal. The reports detail an overall score for each subject and information for how each child performed in different skill areas associated with English language arts/literacy and mathematics.
If a child tested in 2017 and 2018, the score report presents three years of data, which allows parents and guardians to view a child’s progress over time. More information about CAASPP testing including videos and guides to understanding the score reports and assessments may be found here