The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

DVHS grapples with low participation rates for CAASPP testing

Anaisha Das, data from California Department of Education
The DVHS ELA CAASPP participation rate has dropped roughly 12% from the 2018-2019 to 2022-2023 school years

DVHS will administer California’s annual statewide testing to 11th grade students throughout March, but the meaningfulness of the data gathered may be hindered by a declining participation rate.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress is intended to guide school faculty and teachers to close any learning gaps in the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics subjects. CAASPP is unique in its ability to be used as a gauge for student growth, tracking the progress of a class to reach specific learning goals. 

Up until quarantine, the participation rate for the CAASPP at DVHS has typically hovered between 95% to 100%, in line with the rates for other high schools in SRVUSD. However, ever since the reopening of schools post-pandemic in 2021,  the participation rate for CAASPP testing has dropped nearly 6%. 

California Education Code section 60615 states that parents and legal guardians have the right to withdraw their children from district-administered assessments, such as the CAASPP. While this law has been in place since 1995, DVHS has only recently experienced a substantial decrease in the number of students opting out of the test. 

Senior Jordyn Duong opted out of taking the CAASPP assessments last year after her sister told her that the assessments were optional. 

“I think people are just thinking the way I’m thinking, that there’s no point in taking the CAASPP,” she said. 

Duong explains that she knows many other students who’ve decided to opt out of the test after hearing from teachers or friends that the test wasn’t mandatory. 

“I don’t think that many students take the test that seriously,” Duong said. 

This decline in CAASPP participation at DVHS is one factor that may explain the slight drop in CAASPP scores that have occurred for DVHS within the past two years, with a drop of approximately 5% for both ELA and math. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that at least 95% of students are assessed in ELA, Math, and Science. Schools that do not meet this threshold will have the lowest possible scale score assigned to every student who did not take the test, until the number of student data reaches the 95% mark. This year, DVHS had a participation rate of 85.5%, nearly 10% lower than the requirement. DVHS assistant principal Jessica Wigginton explains how a lack of participation in the CAASPP can affect school performance.

“Overall achievement levels for Dougherty were negatively affected by this variable included in the calculation formula,” Wigginton said. 

However, DVHS continues to outperform other high schools in the county with 86.65% and 77.16% of students meeting or exceeding the standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics respectively. However, this marks a slight decline in scores, with 91.54% and 82.87% of students fulfilling the same standards last year. 

Kit Bragg, SRVUSD Director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, pointed out that these drops are no cause for concern for DVHS.

“The achievement scores in that particular feeder area have always been strong and for the most part have been fairly consistent,” Bragg said. “You expect to see some variation of 5-6% year after year because every year is a different cohort of 11th graders.”

In order to tackle this participation gap, the school is urging students to take the CAASPP through clearly communicating the importance of the exam to assess the effectiveness of instructional programs and curriculum for SRVUSD. 

“We are partnering with our parent/community groups to promote the purpose and benefits of participation in these tests in hopes of decreasing our opt outs this year,” Wigginton said. 

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About the Contributor
Anaisha Das
Anaisha Das, Web Editor-in-Chief
Anaisha joined the Tribune to be more involved in her community and become a better writer. She stayed for the snack cabinet and the friends she made. This is her fourth year in journalism and second year as the web editor-in-chief. In her free time, Anaisha enjoys binge-watching wholesome sitcoms and listening to different sub-genres of pop music. Her goals for this year are to start a column and podcast. If she could be any other person on the Tribune, she would be either Mayukhi or Annie: Mayukhi for her endless charisma as a leader and Annie for her talent in art.

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