Folsom Cordova schools performing above state average in new assessments
Results of new, computer-based tests taken by students last spring and released Sept. 9 by the California Department of Education indicate that overall, Folsom Cordova schools are performing above statewide averages. The Smarter Balanced tests - part of the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress - are aligned with the state’s new, more rigorous content standards, which provide a better measure of how prepared our students are to succeed in college and the workforce.
Folsom Cordova’s baseline results show that 55 percent of students met or exceeded standards for English-language arts, and 47 percent of students met or exceeded standards for math. Statewide, 44 percent of students achieved the same measure in English-language arts and 34 percent met or exceeded the mathematics standards. Additionally, Folsom Cordova results are the highest among large unified districts in Sacramento County, and the third-highest among unified districts in the four-county region.
“We carry high expectations for each student’s achievement and success, and these results are one of many measures we will continue to use to help all learners reach their goals,” said Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt. “The skills measured in these assessments are a more accurate indicator of whether our students are gaining the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly evolving world.”
More than 11,700 Folsom Cordova students in grades 3-8 and 11 were tested last spring in the first year of the new assessments. The two-part tests consisted of an adaptive test - in which questions got harder or easier depending on how many correct answers students provided - and a performance task that required students to demonstrate more depth of knowledge and application to real-world problems.
These tests represent a new starting point for measuring student achievement, providing a new baseline for measuring students’ growth in future years. These test results cannot be compared to any standardized tests from previous years, because they are too fundamentally different and measure a wider range of skills than previous pencil-paper tests.
While overall results show Folsom Cordova schools are exceeding state averages, scores for disadvantaged groups, such as English learners and low-income children, indicate a significant achievement gap - mirroring a challenge in school districts across the state.
“We know we have much room for improvement to ensure all of our students succeed,” Bettencourt said. “Folsom Cordova is investing numerous resources into instructional initiatives and new intervention staff focused on improving educational outcomes for our most vulnerable students. We now have a better measure of where we are starting, and I’m confident we will see growth in future years.”
In the coming weeks, families of students who took the assessments will receive individual score reports by mail. FCUSD has within 20 days to deliver them to households after the District receives them from the state. Current estimates anticipate households receiving score reports in October. The reports provide detailed, customized academic performance information for individual students. For a preview of what the reports look like and answers to common questions, please visit www.fcusd.org/testing.
Once the reports arrive, Folsom Cordova encourages families to speak with their child’s teacher to learn more about what the scores mean, and how they will be used to support their success. These scores are
just one measure of student progress, and will be only one of many tools teachers and families can use to help students improve throughout the year.