Academic Performance

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Santa Cruz County Assessment Results

In the spring of 2018 over 20,000 3rd through 8th grade and 11th grade students participated in the annual California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) to evaluate their content proficiency throughout the 2017-18 school year. CAASPP measure student program performance on a variety of assessments including the two core tests — Smarter Balanced Assessment of English Language Arts and Mathematics.

County Proficiency Shows Minimal Growth

English Language Arts and Math Proficiency for 2017-18Santa Cruz County student growth in both English Language Arts and Mathematics remained significantly flat since the start of the Smarter Balanced Assessments which measures student proficiency towards understanding grade-level content aligned to the Common Core State Standards. As you can see in Figure 1, proficiency scores have slightly increased since 2015 — an increase of 3% in English Language Arts (from 43% to 46%) and 2% increase in Mathematics (from 32% to 34%).

Students Near or Exceeded Standard In Content Area Claims

English Language Arts Exceeding or Meeting StandardsStudents are evaluated around four content area claims in English Language Arts — Reading, Writing, Listening, and Research. Students can earn three possible achievement levels: Above Standard, Near Standard, or Below Standard. The majority of students are Above or Near Standard in all 4 claims with 67% of students exceeding or near standard in both Reading and Writing, 78% of students exceeding or near standard in Listening, and 74% in Research as seen in Figure 2.


Math Exceeded or Near Standard 2017-18Math Content Claims that are measured included Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving and Modeling, and Communication Reasoning. The majority of students are exceeding or near standard at 51%, 62%, and 64%, respectively as shown in Figure 3.


Santa Cruz County Students Slightly Behind Statewide Average

Slightly Behind Statewide Average 2017-18With over 3 million students in California participating in the 2017-18 CAASPP program, students across the state also made small gains. Statewide proficiency averages remain slightly above Santa Cruz County students. Santa Cruz County students performed 4% lower in English Language Arts and 5% lower in Mathematics with 50% and 39% students meeting or exceeding proficiency, respectively, as shown in Figure 4.


Achievement Among Santa Cruz County Subgroups

Achievement gap in subgroups 17-18With roughly 20% of county test takers designated as English Learners and 55% designated as socioeconomically disadvantaged, we must provide support and environments for our most at-risk students. As shown in Figure 5, a 69% and 53% gap is evident in English Language Arts and Math, respectively, for English learners as compared to fluent English speakers. A smaller yet significant gap also exists among socioeconomically disadvantaged students with 38% and 34% difference in English Language Arts and Math, respectivel,y for disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students.

Santa Cruz County Office is Committed to Improving Student Success By:

  1. Continuing the work of Santa Cruz County College Commitment (S4C) providing summer training with ongoing coaching in Mathematics.
  2. Hiring a new Mathematics Coordinator to provide professional development and technical support to district teachers, coaches, and administrators.
  3. Providing training and coaching at individual school sites in English Language Development.
  4. Meeting twice a month with Curriculum/Instructional leaders to:
    • analyze student achievement data,
    • study in depth the barriers to acceleration,
    • address the need for site-based instructional leadership development,
    • support continuous improvement through LCAP development.
  5. Meeting with principals regularly to discuss ways to increase student engagement in school and provide needed academic, social, and emotional support.
  6. Participating actively in the statewide initiative in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) with districts who want to expand their capacity to meet the needs of all students, especially in areas in need of additional intervention
  7. Providing the second year of the Equity Institute to address the achievement and opportunity gap that exists among students of color and their White and Asian classmates.