The Irvine Unified School District’s (IUSD) California Science Test (CAST) scores have outperformed both state and county score averages with IUSD ranking No. 1 in California among public school districts of 30,000 or more. This new test assesses students’ ability to think critically and solve problems, while assisting educators in measuring student progress toward mastering state standards.
Administered for the first time in May 2019, to students in grades 5, 8 and once in high school, the CAST covers content from multiple science domains, including Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences. Assessment questions integrate science content, practices and concepts, reflecting the innovative teaching approach called for by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
CAST scores were released later than English Language Arts and Mathematics results this year, because the state needed additional time to finalize the scoring process for this new science assessment. IUSD also ranked top three in California for English Language Arts and Mathematics.
“While we know that assessments are one of many measures to evaluate student learning, these results are further evidence of IUSD’s commitment to student centered learning and continuous improvement,” said Superintendent Terry Walker. “Developing well-rounded students, who are able to engage in scientific inquiry, solve problems, collaborate, and make connections to science in the world around them is key to preparing students for challenging colleges and careers.”
Scores are One of Many Measures
Assessment scores should be recognized as only one measure when evaluating student learning; they provide some but not all information about a student’s knowledge and skills. Results from tests should be reviewed in combination with other measures, such as in-class assignments, classroom tests, and teacher input. For more information about your child’s academic progress, please stay in close contact with your child’s teacher(s) and school.
How Test Scores are Used
IUSD will use these scores to better understand each student’s learning and help us continue to improve upon the high-quality instruction we provide. The scores will not be used to determine student advancement to the next grade level or as the sole piece of information when making academic decisions about students.
For additional information, please visit the following resources:
- Next Generation Science Standards Video
CAST versus CST
CAST replaced the former California Standards Test, known as CST. Administered online, this new test sets higher expectations for students that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Please note that results from the CAST cannot be compared to results from the old CST tests.