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How did LAUSD stack up against other large districts on latest state tests? Not great

Craig Clough | August 29, 2016

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LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King said at a news conference last week that the district’s improvement over last year on the state’s standardized tests was among “the highest gains that were achieved among urban districts in California.”

But was it really?

LA Unified was fourth among the 10 largest districts in the state in overall improvement, but in nearly every individual category it was in the lower half or near the bottom — and at the bottom for English language learners. 

(A note on the math score: There is a discrepancy between what the state website shows and what LA Unified reported. Officially, LA Unified said it was 28.696 percent, which it has rounded up to 29 percent, while the state said it was 28 percent. According to Cynthia Lim, LA Unified’s executive director of Office of Data and Accountability, the difference comes because LA Unified is including all decimal points of each subset category, such as for each grade level, then adding them together, while the state rounds off each subset of data to the nearest round number. A state representative said the department is still looking into the discrepancy but that other school districts had also reported discrepancies of 1 percent in some of the data.)

The entire state and most large districts showed improvement in the second year of the new Common Core-aligned tests, called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Here’s a look at how LA Unified — the largest district in the state — compares with the other large districts.

The district was seventh out of 10 on the English language arts (ELA) test:

LA Unified was seventh out of 10 on the math test:

LA Unified was seventh out of 10 on the performance of disabled students on the ELA test, and eighth on the math test: (click the math button to change the numbers from English language arts to math)

The performance of LA Unified’s English learners was tied for worst on both the English and math tests:

LA Unified did not fare much better on the performance of economically disadvantaged students. Only eight districts are shown, as data are still incomplete for San Francisco and Long Beach:

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