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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-77
November 13, 2019
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts Roundtable with Renown Data Experts to Discuss CAASPP Results and Closing Achievement Gap

SACRAMENTO—On November 5, 2019, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) hosted a Data Dive Roundtable. The panelists shared insights about patterns, trends, and root causes for the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results. They also shared suggestions for actions to take to close achievement and opportunity gaps for each and every one of California’s students.

Participants included notable experts and practitioners such as Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the State Board of Education; Pedro Noguera, Distinguished Professor at UCLA; Elisha Arriaga Smith, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West; Joe Johnson, Executive Director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation and Dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University; Adela Jones, Superintendent of Sanger Unified School District; Cynthia Glover Woods, Chief Academic Officer at Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE); Melissa Bazanos, Executive Director at RCOE; Trevor Painton, Superintendent of Romoland School District; and Laura Hill, Policy Director and Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

The Roundtable was the latest in Thurmond’s efforts to help schools and districts act now to close achievement and opportunity gaps that have persisted for generations.

“We know that using data improves instruction and increases student achievement but interpreting data and understanding how to use it to drive improvement is not easy,” Thurmond said.

The 2019 CAASPP scores showed that achievement gaps persist but they are closing between Latinx and White students and increasing between African American students, Students with Disabilities and White students. In addition, Ever-English learners (Ever Els) have shown tremendous growth. Ever-Els are the combination English learners and Reclassified Fluent English Proficient students.

Panelists discussed that understanding the causes for the recent CAASPP scores includes looking at the contextual factors for each student group. One factor that should be examined further is California’s huge teacher shortage, especially in high-poverty schools and STEM subject areas. The panel stressed that any action taken must be coupled with a strong equity focused agenda and the will to make the necessary changes in actions and behaviors to close gaps. California has to know that closing achievement and opportunity gaps is possible. “Mortals are doing it, know we can do it in California too,” Johnson said.
A few actions to improving student outcomes that were suggested include:

  • Engage in initiative mapping to align and integrate all gap closing efforts and reduce initiative fatigue;
  • Have courageous conversations around implicit bias and its impact on teaching;
  • Provide high quality culturally relevant first instruction to each and every student;
  • Focus on school conditions, climate, and social emotional learning to create better learning environments for students and working environments for teachers;

For additional information on the panel or to view the video recording, please email The video will also be posted on the CDE website.

The CAASPP Smarter Balanced and California Alternate Assessments for ELA and mathematics can now be accessed through the CDE CAASPP Public Reporting website.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 01, 2024
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