BELLFLOWER – Bellflower Unified School students met or exceeded District expectations as well as many state and Los Angeles County proficiency averages on California’s first administration of Smarter Balanced standardized tests for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, according to District officials.
The data from the tests – administered in spring 2015 to grades three through eight, and grade 11 – will establish a baseline for student performance on the California Standards, now in their second year of implementation.
Test results show areas of strength – especially in English – for Bellflower Unified’s English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and Hispanic, African-American and Asian students in multiple grades.
“These numbers are a positive demonstration of the effectiveness with our instructional approaches in English and math for all segments of our student population,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said.
Jacobs credited the District’s performance to teacher preparation and focus on the new California standards as well as to the 2014-15 adoption of 24:1 student teacher ratios in kindergarten through third grade and elimination of elementary-level multi-grade combination classes.
“I’m proud of our dedicated teachers, who worked passionately to really connect with students on these rigorous California standards,” Jacobs said. “It is an effort assisted by class structures that allowed teachers to delve as deeply as needed with the content.”
District officials will spend the next few weeks reviewing the data, class by class and school by school, to determine best practices that can be emulated and areas where early intervention can bolster instruction.
“Because our understanding of the data is still in early stages, we are being careful about how we analyze and reflect on these results,” Jacobs said. “We are proud that we exceed so many county and state averages for so many segments of our student population, but we also know there is much to refine so we can begin improving on our students’ readiness for the next grade level and ultimately that career or college pathway they desire.”
For example, Bellflower USD is developing interim assessments it will give to students periodically. These assessments will complement the state assessment, but provide more frequent data and monitoring points, allowing teachers to fine-tune their instruction and the District to support those instructional efforts.
Bellflower Unified Performance Highlights
- Hispanic students: Students met or exceeded Los Angeles County and state ELA and math average proficiency levels for almost every grade level and for the District overall.
- Economically disadvantaged students: Students met or exceeded county and state ELA and math averages for almost every grade level and for the District overall.
- All students: Students met or exceeded county and state ELA averages for almost every grade level and the District overall.
- African-American students: Students met or exceeded county and state ELA averages for nearly every grade level and the District overall.
- English learners: Students exceeded county and state ELA averages for most grade levels and county and state ELA and math scores for the District overall.
- 11th-graders: 11th-graders met or exceeded state and county ELA averages for all students as well as for most high-needs subgroups. The 11th-grade tests serve as a measure of college readiness in the state’s Early Assessment Program. University of California and California State University will waive freshman writing and math class requirements for students who exceed proficiency and conditionally waive them for those who meet proficiency targets.
- ELA and Math Domains: Students across Bellflower Unified posted especially strong scores in the ELA domains of Writing, Listening and Research, and in the Math domain of Communicating Reasoning.