SFUSD ahead of state and other large urban districts in first California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

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SFUSD ahead of state and other large urban districts in first California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

Press Release

September 9, 2015 (San Francisco) - The California Department of Education (CDE) today unveiled the results of new, computer-based assessments, administered to students last spring to gauge their progress in learning new, more rigorous academic standards designed to prepare them for college and careers in the 21st century.

SFUSD’s baseline results show that the district is starting at halfway to the goal. Fifty-two percent of SFUSD students met or exceeded standards for English language arts (ELA) and 48 percent met or exceeded standards for math compared to 44 percent state-wide for ELA and 34 percent state-wide for math. In math, SFUSD exceeds the state results by more than 10 percent.

“While tests are only one of the many ways we look at movement toward the high goals we have set for our students, these results show that half our students are meeting or exceeding tougher academic standards that emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical writing,” said SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza.

To align with the changes in curriculum and standards, and the resulting instructional shifts, there have been changes in the content type and format of the assessments.

“The skills measured by these tests take time and effort to master, but our students will need them to succeed, said Carranza “I applaud all of our professional educators who have been actively collaborating to develop and improve SFUSD’s California standards’ aligned curriculum to ensure that instruction is both rigorous and engaging for students.”

Overall results for SFUSD were higher than other large urban districts in the state. English Learners, Special Education and socioeconomically disadvantaged students excelled in SFUSD relative to peer districts. However, when disaggregating by ethnicity, SFUSD has a vast achievement gap for African American students in particular.

“We’re not satisfied, but we are thrilled that these tests show the progress we’re making in serving our English learners and low-income students,” added Carranza. “However, the assessment results for African American students is a serious concern. We recognize with tremendous urgency that we must improve outcomes for our African American children in San Francisco. That’s why we’re working with the city and community organizations to intensify our efforts so that we can have a collective impact like we’ve never seen before.”


This is the first year of the new tests. Because they are substantially different from their predecessors, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results will serve as a baseline from which to measure future progress. These scores cannot be compared to results from the state’s previous assessments.

CAASPP includes a number of assessments, but the most widely given are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which evaluate student progress on the California standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy. On CAASPP, students’ scores fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met.

The CAASPP tests for English language arts/literacy and mathematics were given to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. They consist of two parts.

The first is an adaptive test taken on a computer that gives students different follow-up questions based on their answers, thereby providing a more refined picture of a student’s abilities. Second is a performance task that challenges students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills.

Individual student scores are still being sent to districts by the CDE. Based on current estimates from the state, parents of SFUSD students will likely receive their child’s scores sometime in mid-October.

The CDE’s CAASPP results website contains the results broken down by grade, gender, ethnic groups, and demographics.

SFUSD results for 2015 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments by grade level

ELA Standard Met or Exceeded (%)

  SFUSD State
Overall 52 44
Grade 3 48 38
Grade 4 50 40
Grade 5 56 45
Grade 6 49 43
Grade 7 50 44
Grade 8 49 45
Grade 11 65 56
English learner 21 11
Low SES 42 31
Special Education 15 12

Math Standard Met or Exceeded (%)

  SFUSD State
Overall 48 34
Grade 3 55 40
Grade 4 48 35
Grade 5 47 30
Grade 6 44 33
Grade 7 49 34
Grade 8 47 33
Grade 11 50 30
English learner 29 11
Low SES 39 21
Special Education 14 10