Press Release - San Mateo County Students Continue to Outpace the State Average

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. The California Department of Education has released the 2017 Smarter Balanced Assessment results. Sixty percent of San Mateo County students met or exceeded the English Language Arts/Literary (ELA/Literacy) standard, an increase of one percentage point from 2016, and 52 percent met or exceeded the Mathematics standard, a result that mirrors 2016 results. San Mateo County students continued to surpass state averages in the percentage of students who met or exceeded the achievement standards. The State experienced a similar rate of change.

The results are part of the California Department of Education’s 2017 Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC), which were given to students in grades three through eight and grade 11 last spring to more than three million students in California.
Some results of note among San Mateo County students include gains of 3 percent among 7th graders and 4 percent among 11th graders in the ELA/Literacy assessment in 2017. That growth continued from the previous year, and the two grades are up 6 and 7 percent respectively since 2015. The 7th and 11th graders also saw growth in math achievement during the same periods. As for district performance, Jefferson Union and Sequoia Union High School Districts led the way in ELA/Literacy growth with a respective 10 and 12 percent increase in 2017 alone. The two schools also saw 7 and 5 percent growth in math achievement.
“These data give us the opportunity to look carefully at how our districts are doing. We will be carefully analyzing the results to see which districts are experiencing the most growth. We can identify the strategies they’re using and then share those best practices with others,” explained Anne E. Campbell, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools. “In fact, we have begun this work already. We have analyzed data on those districts demonstrating impressive growth and are now visiting them to learn what they have been doing and how others might learn from their experience.”

Other results of note indicate a continuation of the achievement gap within San Mateo County. Asian, White, and students of two or more races received scores which met or exceeded standards in much higher percentages than those of their Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander peers on both the ELA/Literacy and mathematics assessments. Additionally, economically disadvantaged students, English learners, and students with disabilities scored significantly lower than the county average. “We are disappointed not to see more growth, but our battle to close the achievement gap will continue. We need to make excellence and equity in education for all students a reality,” Campbell said. “We still have much to do.”
Differences in performance at different grade levels persisted at both the county and state level. For example, 70 percent of 11th graders met or exceeded the ELA/Literacy standard, but only 54 percent of 3rd graders hit that target. Conversely, 60 percent of 3rd graders met or exceeded the mathematics standard, while 11th graders brought up the rear at 46 percent.
Smarter Balanced (SBA) Summative Assessments are comprehensive, end?of?year assessments of grade?level learning that measure progress toward college and career readiness. Each test is comprised of two parts: (1) a computer adaptive test and (2) a performance task; administered when 66 percent of the instructional year has been completed. The summative assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and Mathematics and are administered to eligible students in grades three through eight and eleven.


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