Results for Common Core, a standardized test that helps determine college-readiness, were released for California on Wednesday. Mark Keppel High had the highest marks when compared to all schools—including high schools and grade-level schools—in the Alhambra Unified School District. At MKHS, 68 percent of test-takers "met or exceeded" expectations in math standards, while 77 percent satisfied the benchmarks in English. Most other AUSD schools hovered around the 50 percent mark for math, and 60 percent for English.
According to the LA Times, in California 44 percent of test-takers met their targets in math, while 34 percent achieved this in English. For Los Angeles Unified, the numbers are 33 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Gary Gonzales, assistant superintendent at the AUSD, said that he felt encouraged by the scores. He added that the State had indicated that a 30 percent passing rate on either subject should be expected; most Alhambra Unified schools passed those marks. "It shows that our teachers have really taken to the implementation of the curriculum," said Gonzalez. He said that the accomplishment is especially praise-worthy when considering that a quarter of the student population are English learners, and nearly three-quarters are at a socio-economic disadvantage. "We will get better," Gonzalez added. "But this is a very good baseline to work with."
The Common Core standards, which are supposed to give a picture of what students from K-12 should know, were developed by the National Governors Association in 2009. The aim was to set a detailed and standardized benchmark for students across the nation. Forty-two states have adopted the standards; this was the first year that California students have taken the test.
The standards have been met with controversy. Some parents claim that the test material is too complex and arcane, while some teachers are concerned that the standards will narrow the learning process. Test scores have reflected some of those fears, as they have been generally low across the nation. In New York, which had entered its third year of testing, scores have been met with little progress. The Washington Post also reports that 20 percent of students have opted out of testing this year. According to KPCC, California has agreed to not count these test scores against the schools this year, since teachers are still adapting to teaching the new standards, and students are learning to take the tests on computers—a change from the usual form-based test such as the SATs.
State-wide, the tests have revealed that the achievement gap is still persistent. While 72 percent of Asian test-takers passed benchmarks in English, only 32 percent of Latino students and 28 percent of African-American students have done the same.
Curious about how your school fared? The LA Times has a listing of all the results in California.