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‘Real time’ data allows schools to adjust effort

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POSTED January 8, 2018 1:35 a.m.

Education is taking place in “real time” in Manteca Unified and other California public school districts.

Thanks to the digital classrooms coupled with state performance testing changes now in place for the past 4½ years districts such as Manteca Unified are making it a priority to maximize new technology that can generate snapshots of student progress as a school year unfolds. 

By being able to find local indicators of student performance and examining them throughout the year, it provides a clear read for educators allowing them to modify tools and resources without having to wait a full year for data from the state.

“It is an invaluable tool for teachers,” District Superintendent Jason Messer said of the data.

There was a time when real estate agents would grab on to California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting scores as a selling point for homes based on schools located in a specific neighborhood.

And while the STAR results provided specific rankings statewide they were often misleading given they generated percentile rankings as every one of California’s 7,541 public schools had to be assigned a unique point between 1 and 100. That meant raw test scores could show one grade level at a specific school may have missed one more question on average than their counterparts at another campus but in percentile rankings they could have a separation on a ranking scale that made them appear to be significantly farther apart.

STAR test results also failed to clearly take into account a wide arrange of factors that impact test scores.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) that replaced STAR testing in mid-2013 dropped the 1 to 100 percentile ranking which is significantly different than percentage of answers correct. The new system also provided specific information on how each individual student is performing to help teachers tailor instruction to sharpen academic performance on a one-on-one basis.

The testing data along with digitalizing ongoing results and such are used to fine tune strategies in the classroom to sharpen the educational success of individual student.

The November Manteca Unified Student Achievement Snapshot — the equivalent of a look at the grade book in pre-Internet days or a gander at the dashboard in today’s e-school era — shows 84 percent of all Manteca Unified high school students are on course to earn a “C-” or better in so-called “A-G courses” — a rigorous sequence of courses in seven subject areas required to gain admission to either the University of California or the California State University systems.

Ninety-two percent of Manteca Unified high school seniors on college tracks are on target to complete the minimal eligibility 

At the same time, 92 percent of students in vocational programs are on track to complete at least one Career and Technical Education (CTE) path with a “C-“ or higher. 

They are just two of a number of performance snapshots educators monitor monthly.

The November snapshot also shows:

u78 percent of high school students are likely to pass an Advanced Placement exam with at least a “B-“.

u44 percent of high school students are on track for an “A-“ or better in A-G English Language Arts classes.

u40 percent of high school students are on track for an “A-“ or better in A-G math courses.

u38 percent of all first through eighth graders as of November are on target to meet or exceed standards in district academic achievement benchmarks with six months to go in the school year

u58 percent of all first through eighth graders as of November are on target to meet or exceed standards in district math achievement benchmarks with six months to go in the school year.

As the school year continues the percentage of students that meet the targets typically goes up.

The system in place now allows ongoing adjustments to make that happen.

The monthly Insight publication produced by the Manteca Unified Community Outreach staff also lists ongoing information based on current staffing, budget, the impact of future retirement costs, average daily attendance, enrollment, suspensions, discipline and the graduate rate that has grown steadily from 92 percent in 2012-2013 to a snapshot projection of 96 percent for the current school year.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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