LOS ANGELES, CA —California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson released the results for the 2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) at a press conference this morning, showing students improving across the State and locally. Joining Torklakson was Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Michelle King and LAUSD School Board President Steve Zimmer. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce also participated in the event to provide the business community’s perspective.
“We believe the test scores announced today are evidence that we are on the right course to build a strong workforce, but clearly more work is needed. As the leading business organization for the Los Angeles region, we know this future workforce must close the skills gap and keep up with the needs of our area’s employers,” said David Rattray, executive vice president, Education & Workforce Development, L.A. Area Chamber. “We also know that without an educated workforce, our economy suffers directly, and it is not just here in California – but in the U.S. and in the world. Our global competitiveness is tied to the preparedness of our workforce.”
CAASPP has a number of assessments, but the most widely given are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which evaluate student progress on the California standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy. The L.A. area business community, led by the Chamber, played a role in developing the new assessments that now better gauge students for the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to succeed in work and life. By adopting a tougher test, the end result will be graduates who are better prepared for college and the work force.
“We now have data we can use to compare and begin to chart for years to come. Transformation does not happen overnight, and it does not happen in a silo. The business community must continue to be invested in education if L.A. is to remain an international leader.” Rattray continued. “Businesses are struggling to find employees with the necessary skills, such as communication and problem solving, to meet job requirements. Today’s test scores are proof that we are on the path to ensuring employers will be able to turn to California students to meet those needs.”
The Chamber congratulates Superintendent Torlakson for recognizing the importance of having an assessment tool that addresses how prepared students are for college and careers in the 21st century. The State undertook this bold step last year when it gave these new, online assessments to 3.2 million students and now moves forward in administering the tests and comparing data.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.