Here you will find WCSD Smarter Balanced data for the 2016-2017 school year. For more information regarding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and to view our latest data, please visit our primary Smarter Balanced page.


Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) are often used to explain the knowledge and competencies students display at different levels of achievement. These ALDs are often found on aggregate and student-level score reports so stakeholders, such as parents and teachers, can more fully understand what students have demonstrated on an assessment. The table below defines the achievement levels for the Smarter Balanced assessment. For more information on Smarter Balanced reporting, click here.

Nevada’s Achievement Level Descriptors

Level 4 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for likely success in future coursework.
Level 3 The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for likely success in future coursework.
Level 2 The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed for likely success in future coursework.
Level 1 The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed for likely success in future coursework.





The chart above displays the percent scoring in each achievement level, by student population, in English/Language Arts (ELA). The column to the far left shows how all WCSD students scored. In total, 17% scored in the range of the highest achievement level (level 4). Thirty-one percent (31%) scored at level three. This sums to 48% scoring at or above the standard. Twenty-six percent (26%) scored in the “The student has nearly met the achievement standard…” range, and 26% scored in the lowest range. Each of these achievement level ranges sends a different signal to educators about how our students should be met and supported in learning and mastering the state’s learning standards.

Looking across the columns (and clicking into them to dive deeper into student population data), the reader can see that performance varies significantly among populations. As is the case in many measures of academic performance, this shows that we have an achievement gap, and a significant amount of work to do in order to ensure each student, regardless of background, is given the opportunity and supports to master standards, and reach the graduation stage. Using these data as a baseline, along with legacy state test data, we will continue working to close this achievement gap. We have several current programs that are showing promise and have begun implementing new initiatives to tailor supports to specific student needs.

The display above shows the proportion of students “At or Above Standard” (Achievement Levels 3 & 4) by grade. While all numbers hover around a 49% midpoint, some grades stand out as higher than others. It will be interesting to examine these data in future years to see if this is a trend. It should be noted, however, that achievement level and standard setting is an inexact science, so test grades are not necessarily directly comparable to each other. For WCSD, the comparisons that are important over time will be ensuring all grades increase toward 60%, and eventually 90%, as we want all children to meet the high standards adopted by our state and measured by this assessment.

The graph is interactive, so clicking on any grade’s column will expand the view to show how different student populations in that grade performed. Again, viewing these data show several unacceptable achievement gaps among our student populations.


A benefit of belonging to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium includes the ability to measure Nevada and WCSD against other member states and districts. The chart above shows how our district and state compare to other states in the consortium. While we will continually strive toward higher performance, and to outperform other states, it is encouraging to note that WCSD students outperform or align closely with other students, as a whole, in several other states.



The chart above displays the percent scoring in each achievement level, by student population, in Math. Again, the column to the far left shows how all WCSD students scored. Across the district, performance in Math is generally slightly lower than in ELA. This appears to be the case for Nevada as a whole. In total, 16% of WCSD students scored in the range of the highest achievement level in Math, and 23% scored in the Level 3 range. This equates to 39% of students scoring At or Above Standard. We also note that nearly one in three students scored in the “Student has nearly met the achievement standard…” range.

Examining the proportion of students “At or Above Standard” in Math, by grade, shows some differences compared to the same display in ELA. The proportion of students performing at standard is closer to 40%, compared to 50% in ELA, and there is much greater variation between grades. By clicking a grade’s chart bar you can see this measure by different student populations. As always, we continue to strive for and work towards closing this achievement gap.


Interestingly, while WCSD performed lower in Math than in ELA, the district compares more favorably to other states in Math. This is an important part of conversations among educators regarding systemic supports and the transition to the new Math standards. There are several implications for the curricular pathway our students are on, and this should be communicated thoroughly.


As with any new major assessment, the performance measures from the Smarter Balanced test will serve as an important baseline from which WCSD will measure, along with several other indicators, its continuous improvement efforts. We encourage the reader to visit these pages regularly, and compare our progress in context with other data stories we tell on this website. We want to hear from you!


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