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Low Results In New Test Scores


New scores released today show fewer than half of all California students passed new math and English tests aligned with the Common Core standards.

More than three million students took the new Smarter Balanced computerized test last spring, in grades 3rd through 8th, as well as 11th graders. State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson cautioned against drawing comparisons with previous standardized assessments.

"The test is so different from the old STAR tests, it would be like comparing an apple to a watermelon," says Torlakson.

He says that's because the new test gauges students' progress in learning more rigorous academic standards.

Results show that: 44 percent of students met or exceeded the new language-arts standards; and 34 percent passed the assessment in math. 

The numbers are about the same for Sacramento County: 41 percent of students met or exceeded the language-arts standards; and 33 percent passed the math test.

Torlakson says the results also reflect long-standing achievement gaps between affluent and low-income students.

"But we feel we are moving in the right direction," says Torlakson. "Under the local control funding formula, California is providing extra funds and services for those students with the greatest needs."

School districts began using that formula last year. It's intended to give more money to schools with concentrations of low-income and non-English speaking students.

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