Monday, August 15, 2011


California Student Test Scores Show Moderate  Gains

by Howard Blume  | LA Times/LA Now |

Students show gains on standardized test scores

By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer, LA Daily nes |

Students at Cahuenga Elementary

Photo: Students at Cahuenga Elementary in Los Angeles in 2006. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

August 15, 2011 |  1:39 pm - California students posted moderate gains on test scores released Tuesday, continuing a trend of recent years.

The results for the Los Angeles Unified School District also mirrored past years: Gains were higher than for the state overall, but scores still fell below the state average.

Overall, 54% of California students scored "proficient" or above in English-language arts and 50% scored proficient or better in mathematics, the best results since the program’s inception in 2003.

In L.A. Unified, proficiency in English language arts increased from 41% to 44%. In mathematics, from 39% to 43%.

District officials hailed the results in the wake of budget cuts that have made academic progress more challenging.

“These results are a result of their amazing hard work,” said L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, referring to teachers and other staff. “We are at our highest point in student achievement.”

These relative positives come with caveats.

For one, the scores at the high school level, the culmination of the K-12 system, continue to lag sharply behind elementary school performance.

In other words, huge numbers of students who appear to be on track as young children fall far behind as they get older. And those who drop out entirely aren’t even around to be tested toward the end of high school.

In L.A. Unified, fewer than 20% of high school students scored proficient or better in general mathematics, algebra, geometry and Level 2 algebra.

Another persistent issue is the achievement gap separating Asian and white students from Latino and black students — although these groups saw gains.

Statewide, 76% of Asian students and 71% of white students were proficient or better in English, for example, compared with 42% of Latinos and 41% of African Americans.

In math, the numbers are 76% for Asians, 61% for whites, 41% for Latinos and 34% for African Americans.

Compared with past years, the statewide gains are moderate, and they are almost certainly inflated by the transfer of more disabled students to a different testing system.

The transfer might be appropriate for these students, but the effect is to remove many low-scoring test-takers from the pool and thus boost the percentage of students scoring as proficient.

L.A. Unified estimated its scores rose less than 1 percentage point by removing some disabled students from the testing population. State officials did not provide an estimate for the statewide effect.

8/15/2011 02:24:19 PM - Even with a shortened school year and shrinking campus resources, more Los Angeles Unified students mastered reading, math, science and social studies last year, according to standardized state test results released today.

According to the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program data, 44 percent of LAUSD students scored proficient in reading and 43 percent in math.

This compares well with 2010, when 41 percent tested proficient in English and 39 percent showed the same competency in math.

In addition, 51 percent of LAUSD's fifth- and eighth-graders scored proficient in science and 40 percent of middle-school students demonstrated proficiency in social studies.

The district is still challenged, however, with achievement gaps between older and younger students, boys and girls, minority children and students from low-income families versus those from more affluent areas.

"I am pleased, but not satisfied," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.

For example, 63 percent of elementary school students scored proficient in math last year compared to just 16 percent in high school.

Also this year, 47 percent of LAUSD's female students scored proficient in English compared with 41 percent of the district's boys.

And while 75 percent of LAUSD's Asian students, and 69 percent of white students scored proficient in math, just 39 percent of Latino children and 33 percent of black children scored at the same level.


The STAR test measures proficiency in English and math at every grade level.

Fifth- eighth- and 10th-graders are also tested in science, while eighth-graders and 11th-graders are tested in social studies and history.

Student proficiency is ranked as advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far-below basic, with a state goal of all students reaching a score of at least proficient in all subject areas.

The STAR test results also make up the majority of the data used to calculate schools' Academic Performance Index, or API, which ranks schools from 200 to 1,000 points, with a state goal of reaching 800

California Department of Education News Release

Release: #11-55
August 15, 2011

Contact: Pam Slater
Phone: 916-319-0818

2011 STAR Results Show Steady Improvement Statewide

RESEDA — California's students continue to steadily improve their performance across the board, with a larger proportion than ever scoring proficient or higher on the 2011 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program exams in English–language arts, mathematics, science, and history–social science, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

Approximately 4.7 million students participated in the 2011 STAR program, with 54 percent scoring proficient or above in English-language arts and 50 percent scoring at proficient or above in mathematics, the highest percentage since the program's inception in 2003.

The full results can be found on the California Department of Education Standardized Testing and Reporting Web page at Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results.

"The significant and sustained improvements we've seen for nine consecutive years prove how hard teachers, school employees, administrators, and parents are working to help students achieve despite budget cuts that have affected our schools," Torlakson said. "Their heroic teamwork is paying off for California."

press release continued




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