Looking for the last 17 year’s worth of California students’ math and reading test results? You won’t find them on the education department’s website (at least not easily).
EdSource reports that, in preparation for the release of its new test scores, officials at the California education department recently deleted standardized test results going back to 1998 from the public database.
California students took the Smarter Balanced assessments in reading and math, which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, for the first time last spring. The new online tests require more writing and problem-solving than previous state tests, and scores are expected to decline.
The department has said it removed the data to “avoid confusion,” and to help comply with a 2013 law that forbids state agencies and local districts from comparing scores on the old and new standardized tests. The deputy superintendent issued a statement explaining that the new results will be going up soon and that “the two tests cannot be compared.”
As EdSource reports, “the law says nothing about whether the old test results should be made available to the public.”
Critics of the move have said deleting the information from the database will make it harder to monitor changes in achievement gaps.
The scores aren’t completely gone—people who are data-savvy can still find them in downloadable Excel files and through annual press releases, though those are both harder to find and navigate.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.