BELLFLOWER – Bellflower Unified students continue to perform strongly on the state’s English language arts and math proficiency tests, with students showing year-over-year advances in 2017 across all tested grade levels.

The two standardized tests, introduced in 2015, are computer-adaptive exams that focus on writing and critical-thinking skills aligned with the rigorous California Standards, adopted in 2010 and required in school instruction as of 2014-15.

Developed by the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the two exams are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), a cluster of proficiency exams that includes science, alternative assessments for special education students and an English language development (ELD) test for English learners.

“These scores provide a snapshot of our student performance that will help guide our efforts to develop increasingly effective instructional strategies,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “Now, with three years of data in hand, we are beginning to develop a more thorough understanding of our student needs.”

Already, Bellflower Unified has used the state data to generate a year-over-year picture to track performance by grade level, showing that as students advance each year, they top their performances of the year before. A similar growth tracker will be incorporated into the new California School Dashboard in late fall or early winter.

Overall, 47.9 percent of Bellflower students tested as proficient in English language arts (ELA) and 29.1 percent were proficient in math – results on par with or incrementally exceeding the District’s 2016 results, which in turn topped the District’s 2015 performance.

Of special note are the District’s scores for English learners who have been reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP). BUSD’s RFEP students scored at 74.1 percent proficient in ELA and 41.1 percent proficient in math. The scores demonstrate how the District’s strategies and actions aimed at closing the achievement gap for English learners are having a strong and positive impact.

“A higher percentage of our English learner students are meeting reclassification criteria and mastering grade-level skills in English language arts and mathematics. BUSD’s mission is to support all students in becoming college and career ready,” said Stacey Larson-Everson, assistant superintendent of educational services.

BUSD, which offers a dual-language immersion program at two elementary schools, has made teacher collaboration and data analysis a key element of its work to improve student outcomes. In 2016-17, the District created three teacher-on-special-assignment (TOSA) positions to support instructional practices and protocols designed to meet the needs of English learners, who constitute approximately 21 percent of District enrollment.

“BUSD administrators, teachers, and staff use data analysis to support student success and progress,” said Bonnie Carter, director of academic accountability.

Principals started the year dialoging around the most current data with a focus of creating opportunities for analysis and use of data to guide instructional decisions and to support continued progress in attaining District and school Local Control and Accountability Plan goals as BUSD strives to achieve a Standard of Excellence; Nothing Less.