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Pleasanton students score higher in 2nd year of new state testing

Superintendent: 'An incredible accomplishment for our PUSD staff and students'

Pleasanton students overall performed better in the second year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), as did children across the state according to test results released Wednesday.

A total of 81% of Pleasanton Unified School District students met or exceeded English language arts and literacy standards, while 76% met or exceeded mathematics standards. That's an improvement of 1% and 3% over last year, respectively.

"This is an incredible accomplishment for our PUSD staff and students," superintendent Rick Rubino said in a statement. "Analyzing the CAASPP results will provide us with the information which guides our focus on the specific needs of our students, to improve performance, close achievement gaps, and support teachers and schools in their continued efforts to increase student learning."

Pleasanton's results were attributed to the work and collaboration between parents, students and staff. However, the district statement pointed out that there is still work to be done, as evidenced by the 5% decrease in eighth-graders meeting or exceeding the English language arts standard over last year.

California made progress as a whole, with 49% of students meeting or exceeding the English language arts standards and 37% doing so for math. That's an increase of 5% and 4% over last year, respectively.

The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards rose at every grade and in every student group, according to the California Department of Education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in the release that more familiarity with taking an online test, an extra year of teaching the Common Core standards and the use of interim tests may have contributed to the rise in scores.

"The higher test scores show that the dedication, hard work and patience of California's teachers, parents, school employees and administrators are paying off," Torlakson said. "Together we are making progress towards upgrading our education system to prepare all students for careers and college in the 21st century."

Neighboring school districts saw similar CAASPP results. In Dublin, 79% of students met or exceeded the English standards while 73% did so for math. A total of 82% of San Ramon Valley students met or exceeded English standards, and 76% met or exceeded math standards.

In Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District the scores were lower, with 60% of students meeting or exceeding English standards and 47% meeting or exceeding math standards.

The CAASPP replaced Standardized Testing and Reporting examinations two years ago. It is an online test given in grades three through eight and grade 11 that incorporates new Common Core standards. Students are asked to write clearly, use critical thinking and solve complex problems.

The test consists of two parts -- a computer adaptive assessment that bases follow-up questions on the correctness of the answer given, and a task that requires them to apply their skills to a real-world issue.

More than 3.2 million students took part in CAASPP this year. Less than 1% of eligible students did not take part in the assessment because of a parental exemption.

Parents will receive individual student scores in the mail. Additionally, results can be viewed online and compared with other schools, districts and counties by visiting http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/. Parents can also visit http://testscoreguide.org for further information.

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