State test results show Burbank Unified scores remained flat

Standardized test scores for students in the Burbank Unified School District remained flat this year compared to previous years, according to data released Wednesday by state officials. However, they continue to perform slightly better than the state average.

About 7,500 local students in third through eighth grades as well as high school juniors took the online standardized test known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

Results showed 62% of Burbank Unified students met or exceeded the standard for English language arts, while 48% met or exceeded the mathematics standard.

During the two previous years, students made gains in their scores each year, but districtwide results showed scores remained mostly stagnant this year.

At Burbank High, 68% of juniors met or exceeded the English standard, similar to scores in 2016. However, only 43% met or exceeded the mathematics standard, dropping six percentage points compared to the previous year.

At John Burroughs High School, 75% of juniors met or exceeded the standard in English, which dropped by 4% compared to results in 2016. Scores also decreased in mathematics by 4% as 41% of juniors met or exceeded the standard.

When comparing schools’ year-to-year results, Supt. Matt Hill said he takes comparisons with a grain of salt because a different set of students take the test each year and the number of students taking the exam varies.

“This is only one indicator,” Hill said. “This is one test on one day, so that’s why I downplay it more. It’s good to look at this data piece but not only [this].”

This time only four juniors at Burroughs and 13 at Burbank High opted out of taking the exam.

In 2016, then-student Sam Gorman convinced 269 out of 656 juniors at Burbank High to opt out of taking the exam after they got a parent to sign off on the request.

During the 16 hours it usually takes a student to complete the state test, students who opted out instead studied for upcoming AP exams and finals on campus.

Hill reiterated his stance on encouraging the state to look into the value of administering the state test to juniors.

“My main focus is making sure students are graduating prepared for college and careers,” Hill said. “If we’re going to do something the 10th-grade year, we need to look at something that is more aligned with what 10th-graders are thinking about.”

Unlike on paper-and-pencil, multiple-choice tests, if a student answers a question on the online test correctly, they are given a more difficult question next. If they answer incorrectly, they receive an easier question.

Scores are displayed in four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met and standard not met.

About 3.2 million students statewide took the standardized tests.

State Supt. of Public Education Tom Torlakson said he was glad students maintained their progress since the first round of online testing that counted in 2015. The year prior, which was the first year for the online tests, the results didn’t count.

“I’m pleased we retained our gains, but we have much more work to do. We need to work diligently to narrow achievement gaps and make sure all students continue to make progress,” Torlakson said in a statement. “It’s important to remember that these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper-and-pencil tests.”

priscella.vega@latimes.com

Twitter: @vegapriscella

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