SPUSD ranks fifth in statewide Common Core testing

By Brandon Yung
Staff Writer

Illustration by Ashton Carless

Graphics by Sandra Moore and Michael Stukan

South Pasadena students ranked fifth in California in the recently released CAASPP test results. The results for last year’s Common Core-aligned tests were released this Wednesday, August 24. South Pasadena raised its scores from the previous year by 4.6%, resulting in a jump from 9th place in the state to 5th.

The test results showed that 81 percent of district students met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts, while 76 percent met or exceeded Mathematics standards. These figures mark a four percent increase in both categories.

The CAASPP, or California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, is an assortment of optional tests that is used to indicate student progress throughout the state. The exam has been implemented for two years, and is given to students from third to eighth grade, as well as 11th. These students participate in “computer adaptive assessments,” digital tests that change according to the taker’s real time progress.

Many Juniors in 2015 chose not to take the computerized test because it was scheduled right before AP testing. However, last year’s exam was given weeks after the end of AP testing, and as a result, only two percent of Juniors opted out.

South Pasadena came behind San Marino, Piedmont City, La Canada, and Palo Alto. Out of all of those districts, South Pasadena is the most diverse; the California Department of Education indicates that South Pasadena has the most socioeconomically disadvantaged, Latino or Hispanic, special needs and English learning students. Furthermore, out of the top eight districts, South Pasadena has the lowest median household income.

The CAASPP results will be used as a new indicator for the district’s overall proficiency. They  will be looked at by college admissions officers as well as real estate agents. Since South Pasadena is a town that already values its public schooling, and has a housing market indicative of that value, the fifth place ranking reaffirms its status of high achievement.