The achievement gap grew in 2016 under California Common Core. See it in your community.

By Phillip Reese -

Test scores in California improved this year - but the test score gap between the haves and have-nots got wider, too.

About 440 large California schools aced 2016 Common Core tests, with more than three quarters of their students meeting new math standards.

But just 7 of those schools also had a higher proportion of students classified as "economically disadvantaged" than the statewide average. In other words, 98 percent of the state’s highest-performing schools on the new math test had a relatively low proportion of students in poverty.

The test score achievement gap between wealthy and poor students is much larger under California's new Common Core tests than the gap was under older tests.

About 23 percent of "economically-disadvantaged" students met new math standards, compared to 58 percent of students not classified as economically disadvantaged. The achievement gap grew from 32 percentage points to 35 percentage points from 2015 to 2016, as wealthier students improved their scores faster than economically disadvantaged students.

Education experts blame the achievement gap on resource disparities; differing levels of parent participation and expectations; a high migration rate between schools among poorer students; and unfamiliarity or lack of access to helpful technology.

This chart shows the relationship between poverty and scores on the state's new math tests.

Source: California Department of Education | Important note: Excludes schools with fewer than 150 students enrolled in grades 3-8; 10-11. Poverty figures reflect the proportion of students tested in those grades classified as socioeconomically-disadvantaged. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 took math and language arts tests. Students in grade 10 took science tests. The above chart reflects only math scores. (This note was expanded for clarity on 10/22/15).

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