LCUSD Among Best in State Assessment Tests

The second batch of online testing results released this week again placed La Cañada Unified School District’s students among the best-scoring in the state.
The annual California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress system ranked LCUSD’s 5th-, 6th- and 8th-graders tops in the state in English language arts/literacy, while its 6th-graders also rated first in math, according to mean scale score performance data reported by Lindi Dreibelbis, chief director of assessment.
LCUSD had even more top scores last year when the new test results debuted. In English language arts, the district’s students ranked first in the state in six of seven of the grades tested, and in math they were first in two grades.
“This is just the second year of testing and it’s still relatively new for all of us, so to have confirmation that we’re still one of the top-performing school districts in the state of California was just wonderful,” said Dreibelbis, who pointed out that, district-wide, students recorded higher mean scale scores in all but two grades.
In English, students earned a higher mean scale score this year than last in every grade except 7th. In math, the mean scale scores improved in every grade except 8th, which saw scores dip by less than one point, Dreibelbis said.
“We knew when the scores came out last year we had done very well,” Dreibelbis said. “So we’re just thrilled with the fact that we’ve really, really tried to improve on that and really demonstrated the district’s dedication to students.”
The new tests are more rigorous than the previous state assessments and are administered in grades 3-8 and 11. They are meant to align with the state’s academic standards and to assess grade-level learning that measures progress toward college and career readiness by determining four achievement levels: exceeded, met, nearly met and not met.
Across the state, of the 3.2 million students who took part in CAASPP testing, the percentage who met or exceeded standards increased in every grade and student group, the state’s Department of Education reported.
Nearly half of students who were tested met or exceeded standards in English and nearly four in 10 met or exceed standards in math.
In LCUSD schools, an average of 86% met or exceeded those marks, third-best in the state behind San Marino (88.5%) and Piedmont City (87%).
At La Cañada Elementary School, 90% or more of 3rd-, 4th-, 5th- and 6th-graders met or exceeded English standards, with 94% of the school’s 3rd-graders meeting that threshold in math testing.
At Palm Crest Elementary, the 6th-graders were tops with 95% of them meeting or exceeding math standards, while 93% met or exceeded them in English.
And at Paradise Canyon Elementary, 90% of 3rd-graders met or exceeded the mark in math.
There was more improvement at La Cañada High School, where 92% of juniors met or exceeded state English targets, for a 3% increase over the previous year’s junior results. In math, the juniors’ scores were better by 4% — climbing to 83% of the met-or-exceeded mark.
Measuring by mean scale scores, San Marino Unified produced six state-leading marks, with its 3rd-, 4th- and 7th-graders recording the top marks in English and its 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-graders doing the same in math. Palo Alto 11th-graders were tops in English and math, while its 8th-graders also scored best in math. And Piedmont City boasted the top scorers among 7th-grade math test-takers.
Dreibelbis said LCUSD prefers to focus on the mean scale scores because those allow the district to more deeply measure year-by-year growth, with 250 points within each achievement level.
“Last year, we felt like [3rd-grade scores] were a little lower than we were used to seeing,” she said.
“But this year, we see that not only did 3rd-grade scores improve 13% in ELA and math … we were also able to look at the cohort data and how well did they do. And the 3rd-graders last year who we thought, ‘Well, we’re surprised they didn’t perform better,’ they ended up growing 12% in English and 9% in math [as 4th-graders].”