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Manteca still lags behind state results in CAASPP test results
MUSD  5-11-17
Woodward Elementary School students fill the multipurpose room for an assembly in May. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

The average Manteca Unified student is lagging behind the average California student in meeting or exceeding math, English, and literacy goals based on a statewide standard test.
It is a different story in the 3,100-student Ripon Unified School District. Test scores show that Ripon students — except for 11th grade math — easily exceeded the typical Golden State student when it came to meeting or exceeding state comprehension goals
The third year of California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress
 for the 23,900-student Manteca Unified School District shows across the board improvement in testing for English language arts and literacy proficiency save for a slight dip at the fifth and 11 grade levels. All grade levels improved between 2015 and 2016 with scores in 2017 all above the initial testing year in 2015.
Overall the percentage of Manteca Unified students exceeding or meeting the standard was at 41 percent in 2016 for English and literacy proficiency. That compares to 35 percent for 2014 and 39 percent for 2015.  
 It was a mixed bag for math. Manteca Unified students at the sixth and seventh grade showed improvement, eighth grade was unchanged, and slight declines were recorded at the third, fourth, fifth and 11th grades. Eighth grade students showed no change in test results in terms of the percentage of students that met or exceeded standards. Overall the percentage of Manteca Unified students exceeding or meeting the standard was at 25 percent in 2016 for math. That compares to 24 percent for 2014 and 25 percent for 2015.  
“MUSD is committed to the development of each and every student,” said  Manteca Unified Deputy Superintendent Roger Goacther said in a statement. “The new state assessment is another tool for our district to use with students and teachers to help move all our students to becoming career and college ready.  I am pleased with our overall growth trend in English Language Arts and look forward to an in-depth exploration of how our Math scores show more limited change.  We look for even better results for this school year. The daily efforts of our dedicated teachers and the support from our families provide the basis for our students to demonstrate positive gains in the early years of the new assessment system.”
Some 12,474 Manteca Unified students at the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and 11th grade levels took the test in the spring. That represents just over 98 percent of the eligible students.
The CAASPP testing — now with three years completed — is a major departure from STAR (Standard Testing and Reporting) that the state had used to measure the performance of schools and students.
They are taken on computers. That allows the generation of individual results that show what each student needs to work on as well as how well they grasp subjects. The information is shared with parents on how well their child performed. Teachers then use the individual results to help fine tune teaching strategies for each student.
Those who are looking for a ranking based on percentage or percentile to compare schools and school districts will be disappointed with CAASPP test results. That’s because they are centered on comparing individuals and not schools when it comes to judging performance and how well standards are being met.
There are four broad groups in the reporting data — those students that exceed the standard, those that met the standard, and those that nearly met the standard, and standard not met.
On the STAR tests percentages were generated for specific percentile rankings of schools.
Ripon Unified, for example, that under STAR tests was consistently in the 80 and 90 rankings also is among the top performing school districts in the CAASPP tests.
But if you look at the results in terms of the numbers you may not think that is the case.
Ripon Unified, as an example, overall has 54 percent of its students that met or exceed standards in English language arts/literacy and 41 percent for math in the CAASPP test results. Statewide, the percentage of students that met or exceeded standards in English arts was 60 percent and in math 45 percent. The numbers for Manteca Unified are 41 percent for English and 25 percent for math.
Under the old STAR test people were used to seeing numbers in the 80s and 90s and often erroneously equated those numbers to scoring ranges that generally assign letter grades such as “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” to student performances.
Educators in both the Manteca and Ripon districts stress that the test results are just one measure they use to determine how well students are learning.
CAASPP includes Smarter Balanced computer-adaptive tests that provide “appropriately challenging questions” based upon individual student ability making them more precise and better able to provide diagnostic information about student learning. The tests are based on California’s challenging academic standards, requiring students to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems — the skills needed to be successful in college and 21st century careers.
A comparison of the percentage of overall students at various that have met or exceeded standards in math for California, Manteca Unified, and Ripon Unified are as follows:
Third grade: State 46%, Manteca 32%, Ripon 58%
Fourth grade: State 38%, Manteca 23%, Ripon 42%
Fifth grade: State 33%, Manteca 17%, Ripon 47%
Sixth grade: State 35%, Manteca 27%, Ripon 40%
Seventh grade: State 36%, Manteca 27%, Ripon 48%
Eighth grade: State 36%, Manteca 28%, Ripon 55%
11th grade: State 37%, Manteca 19%, Ripon 29%
Overall: State 37%, Manteca 25%, Ripon 46%
A comparison of the percentage of overall students at various that have met or exceeded standards in English language arts/literacy for California, Manteca Unified, and Ripon Unified are as follows:
Third grade: State 43%, Manteca 37%, Ripon 57%
Fourth grade: State 44%, Manteca 34%, Ripon 64%
Fifth grade: State 49%, Manteca 39%, Ripon 62%
Sixth grade: State 48%, Manteca 41%, Ripon 54%
Seventh grade: State 48%, Manteca 42%, Ripon 61%
Eighth grade: State 48%, Manteca 51%, Ripon 60%
11th grade: State 59%, Manteca 53%, Ripon 60%
Overall: State 49%, Manteca 41%, Ripon 60%

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email