Focus Areas

Student Achievement

Student achievement means improving academic outcomes for all students to ensure their success in school and life.


Achievement is measured in multiple ways, such as test scores, English proficiency and college and career preparedness.

Increasing student achievement takes adequate resources, as well as focus and collaboration among the whole school community. Students excel when parents, educators, staff and community members invest their time, energy and talent to help all children realize their full potential.

On the CA School Dashboard, the state reports on achievement based on data that is collected for all schools. It includes test scores, English learners’ progress toward English proficiency and college- and career-readiness. The data include both the current status on these measures and how things are changing. In order to know how to improve student achievement, it’s also important to understand which groups of students are doing well and where improvement is needed.

The state-reported data provides a way to judge the progress your school and district are making related to student achievement, but it’s far from the whole picture. Local officials have richer and more detailed information that tells a more complete story.

For Grades 3-8

The state reports how well students did on the state tests given each spring and changes in those scores over time. This includes:

  • Smarter Balanced tests in English language arts and mathematics, with a combined report for both status and change
  • Beginning in 2018, the results of a new science test that 5th and 8th grade students take
  • Comparisons of scores for groups of students based on such characteristics as ethnicity and family income.

For English Learners

The state reports on the progress schools and districts are making in helping all their English learner students master English. The English Learner Progress Indicator (ELPI) is based on:

  • Student scores on the state’s test of English Language Development
  • The number of students the district “reclassified” as Fully English proficient.

For College and/or Career Readiness

The state reports on what percentage of graduates in the school or district are “Prepared,” “Approaching Prepared” or “Not Prepared” for college and/or career. Students who do not graduate are considered “Not Prepared.” The College/Career Indicator (CCI) uses multiple measures, including:

  • Scores on the Smarter Balanced tests in English and math which students took in 11th
  • Test results from Advanced Placement (AP) exams and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, which only a portion of students take
  • Completion of all the courses required for admission to the state’s four-year public universities (i.e. passing the a-g courses with a C or better)
  • Completion of a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway
  • Completion of selected “dual enrollment” courses at a community college (or similar).

Download and share our flier on Student Achievement.



  • student_achievementHow well are our district’s students across all student groups doing in the classes we offer? How do our student test scores compare to other schools and school districts in our area? What have we tried to improve student outcomes? What other research-based methods can we try to boost student achievement?
  • Do students know what classes they need to meet their career goal or enter college? Do all students know their guidance counselor? Are all students aware of classes that meet A-G requirements? Are all students given guidance early on about their course selections? Are all students assisted in scheduling to meet the A-G requirements for their college and career goals? How can we ensure that all students have a clear roadmap and support for success?
  • What Advanced Placement (AP) courses are we providing? What students are taking AP courses and how can we provide more AP courses or increase student achievement in AP courses for college readiness? Are our teachers qualified to teach AP courses? Do we offer tutoring or other services to assist all student groups in AP coursework?
  • Does our school have enough certified English Language Learner (ELL) teachers and staff to meet the needs of all ELL students? How many ELL students move toward full fluency in English? What are we doing to improve this rate?
  • How do we let parents know more about their children’s academic progress and engage them as partners to meet their children’s academic goals? Do we regularly communicate with parents on how well their students are doing in class? How do we empower parents to better support student learning at home?


  • “I didn’t even know what A-G requirements were until I walked into my teacher’s class for the first time. She made us all understand them, and connected them to our class.”
  • “We provided our students with an ‘on-campus field trip’ where groups of professionals from business, health and other sectors talked about what it takes to get into their field.”
  • “My son’s teacher knows our language. He helped us find afterschool bilingual tutors in our area. He shared a weekly progress report and celebrated when my son met his goals.”


Find out how your school and district are meeting this state priority.