Nation’s Report Card: California Needs Improvement

Students in a testing environment Photo courtesy of Google Images

Students in a testing environment
Photo courtesy of Google Images

Test scores released on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, paint a clear picture of the problem plaguing the California and San Francisco public education system. Known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” these common core test scores revealed severe deficiencies in both math and English among California public school students.

According to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, 55% of California students between 3rd and 11th grade did not meet the academic standards of the testing program for English or Language Arts literacy. Although the results reveal improvement as the students are older–likely an indicator of the various bilingual students with English as their second language–the improvements are minimal. Only nine percent more students meet the Language Arts standards as ninth graders compared to third graders. With that said, there is a substantial improvement in the jump to high school, with 54% of students meeting the English proficiency standards. These figures show improvement, but are still overall very poor and need to be addressed. These problems extend beyond the scope of English. Mathematics scores were even worse under these same standards! Only 33% of students meet the proficiency standards of the program. While one might attribute the English deficiencies to the large immigrant population in California, the math scores are very rattling and a clear indicator of a need for change within the public school system.

California fared terribly in comparison to the other states. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), California was ranked amongst the bottom states nationally in nearly every category. In a fourth grade math assessment, only the District of Columbia fared worse than California for students meeting “basic” mathematical requirements. Alabama and New Mexico were the only states rated worse in students with “proficient” understanding of math, according to the test criteria. The scores compare slightly more favorably amongst 8th graders, as California finished 44th out of 51 qualified states in students with “basic” understanding and 39th out of 51 in students with “proficiency” in math.

Even more unsettling is the lack of improvement California public school system has shown in recent years. The National Assessment of Educational Progress noted that California’s test scores have made little to no improvements over the last ten years of data. These figures cannot be ignored. The California public school system has endured various budget cuts in recent years, and it appears that the students are not receiving the attention and nurturing they deserve on a statewide level. Education is vital and extremely important in our world, and the figures and results of “The Nation’s Report Card” convey a clear need for change.

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About Ryan Kimball

Ryan, a junior at Lick, is a contributor to the sports section of the Hyphen. He is also a reporter for the Paper Tiger, covering a wide variety of topics. Ryan first starting writing around first grade, writing very fictional and very bizarre short mystery stories with his friend. Today, Ryan still enjoys reading mysteries, and his favorite author is Michael Lewis. Ryan will watch almost any TV show and is a fan of nearly every sport. This is his first year writing for the Hyphen, and he is excited to help out and contribute.

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