Fresno Unified students scoring higher in state testing

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is celebrating success after scores increased district-wide from the smarter balanced assessments.

The tests are aligned to the new Common Core state standards in English language, arts and math.

Unlike the former pencil-and-paper tests, large sections of these tests are taken on a computer and are adaptive and Fresno Unified is seeing impressive results.

On Monday morning, Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson released the results from the smarter balanced assessment. This is the second year for the test and the largest school district in the valley is already making history with the results.

"We could not be more pleased that for the first in more than 15 years across the board with students and by content area and by grade level across the entire district, we have seen gains," he said.

Hanson said the district saw scores go up by 4 percent in English language, arts and in math.

"This amounts to over 1,400 additional students meeting standards in ELA and over 1,300 students meeting those standards in mathematics on the rigorous assessments that were just launched back in 2015."

Hanson said Fresno Unified has made great progress on state testing but he believes there is still room for improvement.

"We do not back away from that challenge at all," Hanson said. "We are currently at 31 percent of our students in ELA meeting the standards at the highest level and at 22 percent in mathematics."

Hanson wants to go well above that mark and is looking to the staff at Baird Middle School to help change that.

Valerie Martinez is the principal and her school was one of three in the district that had test scores increase by 10 percent or more.

"We're an AVID National Demonstration School program," she said. "And so all of those AVID student skills combined with our response to intervention program which targets students right where they are in their area of need."
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