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The California Department of Education released in late August our student’s 2016 test scores across West Contra Costa Schools. See the full report here.

Test scores are far from telling a complete story, but they can be helpful in identifying how our students are doing, if they’re making progress and where they need more supports. In short, it tells us if they’re on grade level and on track for college and career options. These tests are called Smarter Balanced Assessments, and are created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – that’s why they’re called SBAC. These computer-based tests measure student knowledge of Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

An SBAC score is just one of many indicators of school quality — other indicators include student, family, and teacher surveys, graduation and attendance rates, social-emotional learning, and suspension/expulsion data. SBAC is still a very new tool, so Education Matters cautions against making any sweeping conclusions based on scores alone. Some schools have exciting new leaders, working hard to implement promising changes to unlock student potential and more effectively support teachers. Change takes time.

The SBAC results reveal some bright spots, while confirming that there is still much work to ensure every child in every neighborhood can be on track for success in college, career, and life. It’s important to support our teachers and leaders, while feeling a sense of urgency, to accelerate progress. Right now, too many of our students are being left behind.


Result Trends in West Contra Costa:

  • The majority of our schools are showing progress
    • Out of 59 public schools in West Contra Costa, 28 increased on both ELA and math; 15 of those had combined math and ELA increases of 10% or more.
  • Progress is not fast enough, especially in math.
    • There are only four schools in West Contra Costa where half or more students met standards in math (Kensington, Madera, Hanna Ranch, and Middle College High School).
    • In English Language Arts, 12 West Contra Costa schools had 50% or more students proficient in ELA standards (Kensington, Madera, Hanna Ranch, Ohlone, Harding, Summit K2, Leadership Public Schools-Richmond, Making Waves High School, Hercules High School, Aspire College Prep High School, and Middle College High School.)
  • Our district improved, but the gap between WCCUSD and the California average widened.
    • WCCUSD is trailing behind the California average by 14% in ELA and 13% in Math.

sbac-chart-ela sbac-chart-math

  • Our schools serving predominantly low-income, English Language Learners, and students of color are persistently lower performing than our more affluent schools.
    • Poverty and trauma play a major role in many children’s lives, and we must address the needs of impoverished communities on every possible front to help close the achievement and opportunity gap. Our schools and educators cannot do it alone, but exceptional teachers and schools make a difference every day.
    • The graphs below show a correlation that schools with larger proportions of low-income students tend to have lower rates of proficiency in both ELA and Math. Still, there are outliers beating the odds.


Bright Spots

SBAC results are also helpful for district leaders to identify what’s working well, and to celebrate the hard work of educators, parents, and students. It also makes it possible to share best practices, pinpointing programs and initiatives that are getting results for students.

Standout schools serving low-income populations (>80% free or reduced lunch)


  • Highland Elementary School (44% Met or Exceeded standards in ELA, 31% in math)
  • Montalvin Manor Elementary School (47% Met or Exceeded standards in ELA, 27% in math)
  • Richmond College Preparatory (43% Met or Exceeded standards in ELA, 41% in math)


  • Richmond Charter Academy (49% Met or Exceeded standards in ELA, 40% in math)

High School

  • Leadership Public Schools (74% Met or Exceeded standards in ELA, 30% in math)

Most Impressive Improvement

  • Shannon Elementary School (21% increase in ELA, 18% increase in math)
  • Riverside Elementary School (11% increase in ELA, 9% increase in math)
  • Hanna Ranch Elementary School (2% increase in ELA, 10% increase in math)
  • Manzanita Middle School (6% increase in ELA, 7% increase in math)
  • Summit K2 Middle School (18% increase in ELA, 5% increase in math)
  • Leadership Public School – Richmond (20% increase in ELA, 12% increase in math)
  • Richmond High School (10% increase in ELA, 2% increase in math)


Overview of West Contra Costa Schools

This list shows the Math and English Language Arts SBAC scores of each public school in West Contra Costa. Click the image below to see the full list, or you can download the file here.

It’s important to note that this provides a glance of schools’ demographics, SBAC results, and growth vs. last year. It’s just one indicator of growth; there are many challenges and bright spots within each school in our community.


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