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News Item: Homepage

Students in MDUSD make gains on third year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) testing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 27, 2017

Contact:  Ursula Kroemer Leimbach / communications@mdusd.org / Mobile: (760) 705-6919



Students in Mt. Diablo Unified School District make gains on third year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) testing

Percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards up districtwide


(CONCORD, CA – September 27, 2017) – Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) students continue to make gains on state assessments, and remain slightly ahead of their peers at the state level, according to data released today by the California Department of Education showing results from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Tests (CAASPP), now in its third year of administration.  The data also show the number of students who met or exceeded the state standards increased, while the number of students who nearly met or did not meet the standards went down.


Nearly 17,000 students across the district took the computer-adaptive tests, or about 97% of eligible students. Last year, 96% of eligible students participated.


“We are pleased to see improvement, and continue to applaud our students for working hard to build their skills and confidence in critical thinking, analytical writing and real-world problem solving as measured in these assessments,” said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of MDUSD.  “And while there is improvement, we know there is much work to be done. Going into this school year, we built in greater supports and enhanced professional development in the area of mathematics, for example, in order to help students meet these more rigorous standards.”


In English Language Arts (ELA), the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards rose for the third year in a row, up 1.05% overall but with dramatic gains at specific grade levels with the percentage of 6th graders meeting or exceeding standards up 7%. In Mathematics, overall gains went up slightly, with Grade 7 seeing the greatest gain of 3%.


“There is more to do with the CAASPP tests; they are more involved but the patience and persistence is paying off,” said Meyer.  “We can really zero-in on individual students to see who is doing well and who might be struggling and could benefit from additional support.”


The CAASPP tests changed from a fill-in-the-bubble approach to a modern, online testing system that provides results quickly, and includes optional interim tests and a digital library of resources to use throughout the year.


“There are some real success stories across the district, and we’ll look closer at the strategies used at these schools to see how they can be more greatly leveraged districtwide,” she added.


At Mt. Diablo High School, ELA scores went up 9%; mathematics increased by 3%.  Diablo View Middle School saw its ELA score increase by 4%; Pine Hollow Middle School went up 5% in Mathematics.  Wren Avenue Elementary, which this year became an arts magnet school, saw its ELA scores increase by 8%. Mountain View Elementary’s mathematics scores increased by 9%.  Strandwood Elementary went up 4% in mathematics.


Highlights include:

  • More students overall are meeting or exceeding standards
  • More African American and Hispanic students are meeting or exceeding standards in English Language Arts
  • More Special Education students are meeting or exceeding standards in English Language Arts


The goal of the state’s assessment system is to improve and ensure high-quality teaching and learning, but Meyer stressed the importance of wide-ranging data to frame student performance, and not a single test score.


“The CAASPP is but one tool we use to see how well our students are doing in school.  We also have monthly, weekly and even daily measures for monitoring student success, “said Meyer.  “We have much to do to close achievement and opportunity gaps, but are grateful to have these scores provide us updated information that allows us to focus on the needs of all students and support teachers and schools in their work to achieve college and career readiness. “


CAASPP Results:

  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) students made gains on the tests, meeting or exceeding state level percentages.
    • In English language arts/literacy, 50.01% of MDUSD students met or exceeded standards, up from the previous year, compared to 48.56% at the state level, essentially static with last year
    • In mathematics, 38.6% of MDUSD students met or exceeded standards, compared to 37.56% at the state level; both essentially static with last year
  • Statewide CAASPP tests support student learning by measuring the skills of all tested students against the same standards in the same way. 


About CAASPP (background)

  • It replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program and encompasses the assessments and alternative assessments for English language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science. (The California Standards Test for Science will be strategically abandoned and eventually replaced by a test aligned to the new Next Generation Science Standards.)
  • These assessments are aligned with new state standards, which were designed to encourage critical thinking, analytical writing, and real-world problem solving. These are skills students need to be successful in school and in life.
  • There are fewer multiple-choice questions and more short answers and extended responses that require students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of key concepts.
  • The new assessments and standards connect to the state’s new funding formula that shifts spending decisions to us locally through the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
  • The standards tell school districts, teachers, families, students, and the community what students to show know and be able to do at each level.
  • The assessments are one way we can monitor our students’ progress in meeting those standards.
  • We address our students’ needs through our LCAP, which is available here We thank our advisory groups, school sites, and countless staff, students and community members who provided essential input on the district’s instructional program. You can view a summary of their input here.   For additional ways you can get involved, click, here.
  • This is the first time that 11th graders are automatically opted in to the Early Assessment Program (EAP) College Readiness to assess their level of proficiency with college-level coursework.  


Additional Resources

  • 2016-17 CAASPP Student Reports
  • Understanding Your Student Score Report. These guides are a one-page resource for parents and guardians to help understand the student score reports. These guides are available in English, Spanish, Armenian (Eastern), Chinese (simplified and traditional), Hmong, Korean, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, and Vietnamese.
    • Grade 3 (English) (Spanish) (Other translations)
    • Grades 4, 6, 7 (English) (Spanish) (Other translations)
    • Grades 5,8  (English) (Spanish) (Other translations)
    • Grade 10 (English) (Spanish) (Other translations)
    • Grade 11 (English) (Spanish)   (Other translations)

§  The Parent Guide to Understanding the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments provides an overview of the CAASPP ELA and math assessment and includes sample questions to help understand the categories students are assessed on:  

§   Grade 3 - 5 Parent Guide (English)  (Spanish)

§   Grade 6 - 8 Parent Guide (English)  (Spanish) 

§   Grade 11 Parent Guide  (English)   (Spanish)



Mt. Diablo Unified, located in Contra Costa County, is honored to serve approximately 32,000 students at one of more than 50 school sites in the cities of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill; portions of Martinez, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek; and the unincorporated communities of Bay Point, Lafayette, and Pacheco. As part of a richly diverse community, MDUSD families represent numerous ethnic groups, speaking nearly 50 different languages and dialects. We offer award-winning innovative programs in Career Technical Education; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); extensive visual and performing arts programs; and rich foreign language and dual immersion offerings. MDUSD is also pleased to have expanded its middle college program, College Now, and opened its first International Baccalaureate program and three new regional magnet programs this school year.  Learn more at http://www.mdusd.org/.

Posted by: Joshua Wittman, District Admin, Mt. Diablo Unified School District Published:9/27/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage