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Comparing California Standards Test (CST) Results

When comparing results for the CSTs, you are limited to comparisons within the same subject and grade; that is, grade two English–language arts in 2007 compared to grade two English–language arts in 2008 or grade six mathematics in 2007 compared to grade six mathematics in 2008. No direct comparisons should be made between grades or between content areas.

Two types of comparisons are possible: (1) comparing the mean scale score; or (2) comparing the percent of students scoring at each performance level. The reviewer may compare results for the same grade and subject across years within a school, between schools, or between a school and its district, its county, or the state. When making comparisons, the reviewer should consider comparing the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced. This is because the state target is for all students to score at or above proficient.

Comparing California Modified Assessment (CMA) Results

When comparing results for the CMA, you are limited to comparisons within the same subject and grade; that is, grade three English–language arts compared to grade three English–language arts or grade four mathematics compared to grade four mathematics. No direct comparisons should be made between grades or between content areas.

The results for the CMA are reported as the percent of items correct. Therefore, the CMA results may be used only to compare the average percent correct on the test. The reviewer may compare results for the same grade and subject between schools or between a school and its district, its county, or the state.

Comparing California Achievement Tests, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6 Survey) Results

See "Term and Score Explanations" for an explanation of national percentile ranks (NPRs).

When comparing CAT/6 Survey results, you are limited to comparisons within the same subject. That is, in contrast to the CSTs, you may compare results across grade level but only within the same subject. The most defensible comparison is the percent of students scoring at or above the 50th NPR. This is the percent of students in the group purported to have demonstrated achievement at or above grade level, and it tells you the percent of students in the tested group that scored at or above the score achieved by half (50%) of the students in the national sample (norm group). If the percent of students who scored at or above the 50th NPR is greater than 50, the group performed better than the national sample. The percent of students who scored at or above the 50th NPR can be compared between and among schools and school districts as well as used to compare a school's test results to those of its school district, its county, or the state.

The grade three or grade seven results can be compared from year to year, either by comparing across grade and subject the percent of students scoring at or above the 50th NPR or by comparing the mean scale score from year to year. When making comparisons across years, it is important to understand that even when the number of students is the same, the group's composition from year to year may be quite different if student mobility (transiency) is high. Generally, there will be more variance in scores from year to year when small numbers of students are tested.

Comparing California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) Results

When comparing results for the CAPA, you are limited to comparisons within the same subject and CAPA level; that is, Level II mathematics compared to Level II mathematics or Level IV English–language arts compared to Level IV English–language arts. No direct comparisons should be made between test levels or between content areas.

Two types of comparisons are possible: (1) comparing the mean scale score; or (2) comparing the percent of students scoring at each performance level. The reviewer may compare results for the same subject, grade, and CAPA level across years within a school, between schools, or between a school and its district, its county, or the state. When making comparisons, the reviewer should consider comparing the percent of students scoring proficient and advanced. This is because the state target is for all students to score at or above proficient.

Comparisons may also be made by calculating the overall percent of students within a school who scored proficient and advanced and comparing that percent to the overall percent of students in another school, the district, the county, or the state who scored proficient or advanced. To make a comparison of this kind, first calculate the number of students who scored proficient and advanced for the subject area at each grade and CAPA level ([%PRO + %ADV] x number tested for the grade and CAPA level and subject area = number scored PRO/ADV). Then add the number who scored PRO/ADV for all grades and divide the sum by the total enrollment.

Comparing Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS) Results

When comparing results for the STS, you are limited to comparisons within the same subject and grade; that is, grade two reading/language arts compared to grade two reading/language arts or grade four mathematics compared to grade four mathematics. No direct comparisons should be made between grades or between content areas.

The results for the STS are reported as the percent of items correct. Therefore, the STS results may be used only to compare the average percent correct on the test. The reviewer may compare results for the same grade and subject between schools or between a school and its district, its county, or the state.

Comparing Aprenda: La prueba de logros en español, Tercera edición (Aprenda 3) Results

A reviewer may compare the performance of students at different grade levels within a school on the Aprenda 3. Similarities and differences in student performance in the same subject may be seen by comparing the percent of students scoring at or above the 50th NPR for each grade. When making this comparison, it is important to remember that the number of students in the group affects the confidence of the inferences that can be made. The smaller the group, the more cautious one should be in making comparisons. It is also important to note that the national norm groups to which California's Spanish-speaking English learners' scores are compared were unique for each grade level.

As with the CAT/6 Survey, the most defensible comparison of Aprenda 3 results is the percent of students scoring at or above the 50th NPR. This is the percent of students in the group purported to have demonstrated achievement at or above grade level, and it tells you the percent of students in the tested group that scored at or above the score achieved by half (50%) of the students in the national sample (norm group). If the percent of students who scored at or above the 50th NPR is greater than 50, the group performed better than the national sample. The percents of students who scored at or above the 50th NPR can be compared between and among schools and school districts as well as used to compare a school's test results to those of its school district, its county, or the state.