"GRADING FOR EQUITY"
SRVUSD data for CAASPP testing [California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) continues to show worrisome performance drops, especially in SRVUSD's middle schools and high schools (where ideological intrusions are most intense), particularly in mathematics and science. The three boxes directly below show CAASPP MATH test data for SRVUSD as a whole, comparing pre-COVID lockdown in 2018-19 with post-COVID lockdown in 2021-22 and then in 2022-23.
Individual school data for CAASPP tests in English, Math, and Science is shown below these three District summary boxes.
SRVUSD's Individual Schools' CAASPP Data, Comparing 2019 (pre-COVID) to 2022 and 2023
Note: SRVUSD average math-testing drop-off was down by 5.46 percentage points (i.e., from 77.51% to 72.05% "Met or Exceeded Standard for Math) in 2021-22 compared to 2018-19. That overall average dropped a little more in 2022-23.
But some schools' performance was far worse. Among the worst: six SRVUSD Middle Schools, California High School, and San Ramon Valley High School. SRV HS has been the site of multiple scandals, some reviewed at the SRVUSD Scandals page of this website. And now, SRV High shows a drop of 23 points (71% to 48%) since 2018-19 in the percentage of students whose CAASPP math scores were rated "Proficient" (= "Met Standard" ) or "Exceeding Standard." SRV HS results over time in Science tests are even worse.
This is truly poor performance. It's long past time for SRVUSD to get back to its parent and taxpayer-delegated business i.e., the teaching and learning of knowledge and skills, not critical race theory, LGBTQ indoctrination, and pornography.
The tables below show the percentage of students at each school with CAASPP test performance at levels 3 and 4 (Met Standard and Exceeded Standard) for English, Math, and Science. We believe these to be accurate numbers; those who wish to check the numbers can begin at the related CAASPP page for District schools, using school names or zip codes.
See "The Racial Achievement Gap and the War on Meritocracy," by black author Jason Riley: "Lower standards for blacks means more mediocre teachers and doctors for black communities." Mr. Riley also mentions Dr. Stanley Goldfarb's important column and book, both entitled Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns.
Unfortunately, the CAASPP testing-program individual and group reports provide only qualitative and very generalized descriptions of knowledge and skills — e.g., "Sandra demonstrates some ability to solve well-posed mathematics problems by adapting his or her [????] knowledge of problem-solving skills and strategies. Sandra also demonstrates some ability to analyze real-world problems, and can build and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems." How does that help anyone?
Taking samples of the computer-based CAASPP tests demonstrates that much greater (and more useful) specificity could be provided if wished by California's educationist powers that be — e.g., "Sandra is able to solve quadratic equations. Sandra understands the slope-intercept form for linear equations and can graph such equations. Sandra is unable to apply basic trigonometric ratios (sine, cosine, tangent) to find missing side lengths in right triangles. Sandra successfully solves most word problems by converting their wording to algebraic equations and solving those."
These would still be qualitative reports on knowledge/skills. But they would provide helpful specifics.
Information on class groups as a whole could also be reported in these ways, so as to assess group strengths and weaknesses, pointing to a need for specific remediation/catch-ups.
The same problems exist for "English and Language Arts" (ELA) CAASPP tests. They could provide results like these: "Sandra uniformly writes sentences with correct subject/verb agreement. Sandra understands and uses correct cases for nouns and pronouns (e.g. nominative, accusative/objective/dative, possessive/genitive). Sandra's vocabulary is superior to her grade-level expectations. Sandra assigns capital letters appropriately. Sandra makes some mistakes in punctuation, and needs better to understand the use of semicolons in particular...." But they don't.
CAASPP testing in SRVUSD Middle Schools and High Schools shows that the longer students attend SRVUSD schools, the worse their academic performance becomes, especially in math and science. SRVUSD needs to STOP displacing core academics with irresponsible indoctrination programs.
Ed Source provides helpful summaries of 2023 California school district results on CAASPP tests. In one of the charts shown for SRVUSD, the percentages of "Standard Met or Exceeded" test scores are shown for various racial cohorts.
Note: Students of Asian parentage (48% of SRVUSD enrollment) performed best, but even they have dropped off to their lowest marks since CAASPP tests were initiated in 2015.
White students lagged far behind, with Hispanics and African Americans faring even worse. Without the higher numbers generated by the Asian kids, SRVUSD overall performance would have been even more dismal.
"Deep Learning" is a Deep Fake.
As in the rest of the country: the kids being hurt most by SRVUSD's "Equity" programs and practices are the kids who are targeted by those programs. It's time for SRVUSD to end its curricular distractions from LGBTQ-themed picture-story books and LGBTQ clubs in the District's elementary schools, to overtly racist "anti-racism" lessons, to depraved pornography in high school libraries and even in classrooms.
It's long past time for SRVUSD stop replacing instruction with indoctrination, to stop the practice of unlicensed, amateur psychotherapy, and to return to the teaching and learning of knowledge and skills.
Dan Walters, one of a small core of objective reporters on education, notes that a "new analysis of [test] data reveals that in 'numeracy' — the ability of adults to use mathematics in daily lives — California ranks near the bottom of states." Things may get even worse, though, as California implements its new "Math Framework."
Walters quotes a State Board of Education member, Gabriela Orozco-Gonzalez, a Montebello elementary school teacher, who is pleased with the new framework's "focus on fundamental concepts, open-ended tasks, justice, student inquiry, reasoning and justification aligns with effective mathematics teaching practices." She is "encouraged by the incorporation of strategies to support diverse learners, such as promoting multilingualism, facilitating group work, employing visual aids, and establishing cultural connections.” No wonder Montebello Unified performs so poorly already.
See also the 2023-24 list of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists in Contra Costa County, including 77 such honorees from SRVUSD's four high schools (Cal High, Dougherty Valley, Monte Vista, and SRV High). All but two or three are evidently of Asian-American parentage, based on names shown.
Such a disproportion suggests that something besides or other than SRVUSD "academics" is producing such remarkable achievement levels.
The likelihood is that these high-achieving students are benefiting from parental expectations, their own hard work, and from tutoring as necessary to overcome the academic deficiencies caused by SRVUSD's distractions from the job delegated by parents and other taxpayers — i.e., making the teaching and learning of beneficial knowledge and skills a priority (instead of "Equity" drills and "dashboards").
True to form, Charlotte Wood and Stone Valley are already on the leading edge of SRVUSD's own related "Grading for Equity" rollout. They've initiated a grading scheme introduced by a Stone Valley Middle School teacher who herself has eliminated Ds. She reports online to her NEA/CTA/SRVEA comrades that "Students can now turn in assignments late and redo work."
This "Grading for Equity" scheme was introduced in more general terms at SRVUSD's "Equity Summer Institute" in July 2022, in a presentation which included the following slides. Once again, the allegedly "white supremacist society," "white privilege," and "implicit bias" are the motivating factors for SRVUSD's overtly racist "anti-racism" programs. So SRVUSD continues turning over its curriculum, and now its grading, to balkanizing racial activists (and reverse racists).
Notice: the radical activists who composed these slides believe as "fundamental truths about grading" that "You gotta break some eggs to make some omelettes" and that "Fair isn't equal." Grades are now another mechanism for "Equity," a sinking ship which leaves all in the same boat as it goes under.
In 2020, Newsweek Magazine carried the story of what many or most considered the insanely demeaning posting by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), implicitly criticizing what it called "Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture in the United States." The Museum quickly found it advisable, indeed necessary. to take down its shameful posting, itself overtly racist, after ridicule and condemnation came in from all sides.
Most people, at least those with common sense and decency — and of whatever skin color — recognize the values and behaviors shown in the NMAAHC posting on "WHITENESS" (copy below) as generally beneficial to individuals, families, and the culture at large.
Keeping in mind that genuine racism involves a presumption or expectation of better or worse behavior / performance of someone based merely on that someone's skin color or ethnicity: we can see echoes of the subversively counterproductive chart below in the implicit presumptions of the "Grading for Equity" movement — and in such curricula as SRVUSD's own Critical Race Theory lessons (though SRVUSD now dodges that term).
The key to better academic performance is well-prepared and dedicated teachers who make education truly a profession, not a unionized job devoted to indoctrinating students with the latest politically correct fads and fashions. High expectations of students generate remarkable results with students of whatever background, as education heroes Marva Collins and Jaime Escalante have shown.
We're 40 years past the "Nation at Risk" report on educational performance, and yet we're still getting the same results — or worse — which provoked alarm in 1983. Genuine school choice, wherein tax dollars follow students to the schools they and their parents choose, would solve much or most of today's even worse academic performance problem.