Vast improvement seen in DB SBAC

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Staff Writer

After administrators implemented more rigorous approach to the testing, the Diamond Bar High School class of 2018 saw dramatic improvements on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test.

The state’s average proficient score for English and Math is around 60 and 32 percent. For English, 78.86 percent of DBHS seniors tested proficient and above, which is a huge step up from last year’s 69 percent and also an increase from the 77 percent in 2015.

About 21 percent of DB test takers for English ranked below state standards. For math, 74.69 percent were proficient or above, an improvement compared to 69 percent in 2016 but not to the 77 percent in 2015. About 25 percent of the students for math ranked below state standards.

“I think it is good to see the growth. I think we’re working hard on trying to get better every year, and every year we go through the test we get a little bit better because we have a better idea of what it is we are doing,” Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar said.

The SBAC is a Common Core computer-based test taken by students in their junior year which consists of an English and a math section. The exam is designed to help monitor how well a student performs at school and collect data to compare the effectiveness of teaching among states. Currently, there are 13 states, including California, that administer this exam.

A common misconception among students and parents is that the SBAC only benefits the school.

“This test really does matter because it has to do with the reputation of the school that you’re coming from, and what colleges and universities are going to look at is what school did you go to. The SBAC is one of the top tools that universities use to say how does this school compare to all the schools across the country that have to take these tests,” Aguilar said.

After a dip in last year’s results, DBHS teachers began taking the exam more seriously and worked with students on subjects covered on the exam, such as non-fiction reading.

“It’s kind of like ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ First year is too hot. The second year is too cold. The third year is just right and it’s kind of what your teachers are going through and it’s what the students are going through,” Aguilar said.

In the past, administrators had a problem with students deciding to not take the test in April. In 2016, students 83 students opted out from the exam, but only 15 did so this year.

“As an administration and as a school, we were more focused on making sure the students understood why these tests were important. We also were very deliberate and incentivizing students as well with food. We had pizza and snow cones for the students who took the test,” Aguilar said.