CAASPP Math Results: Why Students Struggle to Meet Standards
The CAASPP Math exam poses unique challenges that contribute to students’ struggle to meet academic standards, ultimately causing many districts to see low CAASPP results. Unlike traditional standardized tests, the CAASPP introduces new cognitive stressors, namely advanced technology types, and also an emphasis on mathematical strategic thinking through performance-based tasks. Additionally, the phrasing and structure of the test questions often misalign with ongoing classroom instruction. The math scores for the state of California for the 2021-2022 school year showed that only 33.38% of students met or exceeded math standards:
The combination of unfamiliar technology, limited exposure to practical application, and a range of advanced question formats, hinder students’ ability to see sufficient CAASPP math results. Recognizing these challenges allows us to develop targeted interventions and support systems to help students overcome these obstacles, ensuring their success in meeting their academic goals.
Three Cognitive Stressors Causing Low CAASPP Math Results
One: Emphasis on Strategic Thinking
The CAASPP places a strong emphasis on student’s ability to explain their thinking and approach questions strategically. Rather than simply selecting a multiple-choice answer, students are required to analyze and dissect the questions to understand what is being asked of them. This shift requires higher-order thinking skills, critical reasoning, and the ability to effectively communicate their thought processes. Students who have not been explicitly trained in these strategic thinking techniques may struggle to meet the expectations set by the CAASPP, resulting in lower test scores.
Two: Misalignment between Classroom Instruction and the CAASPP
The language and structure of the questions in the CAASPP can pose another cognitive stressor. The phrasing of the questions may differ from what students are accustomed to in their regular classroom instruction. This misalignment can create confusion and uncertainty, making it difficult for students to decipher the question’s meaning. Students who are not explicitly taught how to approach these question formats may find it challenging to fully understand what is being asked of them, which can impact their ability to provide accurate and thorough responses.
Three: Advanced Technology Question Types
Another significant cognitive stressor introduced by the CAASPP is the incorporation of advanced technology types. Unlike the CST, which primarily relied on paper and pencil assessments, the CAASPP utilizes computer-based tasks and interactive interfaces. While technology is increasingly prevalent in today’s society, not all students have equal access to or familiarity with these tools.
Addressing Student Achievement Gaps in the CAASPP Results
1. Prepare Students for Critical Thinking
Educators can incorporate instructional practices that encourage critical thinking, such as providing opportunities for students to explain their thinking processes and engage in collaborative problem-solving activities. By emphasizing higher-order thinking skills in daily classroom instruction, students can become more proficient in the analytical and reasoning abilities required by the CAASPP.
2. Align Ongoing Instruction with Strategic Thinking
To address the misalignment between ongoing classroom instruction and the phrasing of CAASPP questions, educators can implement strategies that familiarize students with the question formats and language conventions used in the assessment. Integrating CAASPP-style questions into classroom assessments and providing explicit instruction on how to approach and decipher the test prompts can help students better understand the expectations and nuances of the questions.
3. Individualized Support
Recognizing that each student has unique needs, providing individualized support is crucial for addressing cognitive stressors. Special education students and English language learners may require additional accommodations and targeted interventions to ensure their success on the CAASPP. Offering differentiated instruction, personalized learning plans, and additional resources tailored to meet the specific needs of these students can level the playing field and improve their ability to meet CAASPP standards.
In conclusion, implementing targeted interventions and support systems, including technology resources and training, promoting strategic thinking, aligning classroom instruction, offering test preparation, and providing individualized support, significantly improve CAASPP results. These strategies empower students to navigate cognitive stressors, reduce test anxiety, and meet CAASPP standards, fostering an environment that prioritizes growth and academic achievement.
Learn more about how to improve CAASPP scores by incorporating the CAASPP tech types into your ongoing instruction through our CAASPP program.