Students in Santa Clarita Valley schools are progressing steadily ahead of their fellow Los Angeles County and statewide competition, judging from the 2009 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results handed down today from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.
While California students overall continue to make steady academic progress in English-language arts, math, and science, students in our neighborhoods are staying a strong step ahead of the curve.
Results from four elementary school districts show that a majority of students scored "advanced" or "proficient" in all areas, with high schools mirroring their success.
"This is all about principals and teachers working hard every day, and working smart every day," said Newhall District Superintendent Marc Winger. "We've really been finding the keys to unlocking the potential of students. Teachers know how to bring low achieving students to proficiency and move our solid middle and top students forward. Our program is standards-aligned and our teachers are using testing data to effectively design instruction based on student learning."
All five districts fared well, despite challenges of language and economics. For example, in the Newhall District, 25 percent of the students are classified as English Language Learners and 35 percent are considered economically disadvantaged.
In the Hart District, every group and sub-group in grades 7 through 12 showed improvement
"I'm very pleased with the overall results," said Dave LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment for the Hart District. "We have worked very hard to pull all kids up to higher achievement levels, and these test scores show that what we have been doing is working. The STAR test is just one way of helping us to measure our progress, and the results tell us we're on the right track."
The raw scores released today will form the basis of the state's Academic Performance Index (API) which will be released Sept. 2. STAR results also are the basic component of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the national yardstick for student success, at the junior high level. AYP at the high school level is based on results of the California High School Exit Exam. AYP rankings also will be released on Sept. 2.
The Hart District's scores for students in the Hispanic and black subgroups have shown increases in every category except ninth grade English/language arts. English learners made particularly strong gains in eighth grade English/language arts (up 24 percent) and eighth grade math (up 11 percent).
Students with disabilities also showed gains in every category except eighth grade math. Economically disadvantaged students increased in all categories, with the largest increase (nine percent) in seventh and eighth grade English/language arts.
"Based on the outstanding results from our STAR tests, I think we will do very well in both API and AYP," LeBarron explained. "The subgroups are doing very well. That is the power of No Child Left Behind, and we have done that very well. The numbers support that."
For complete results on state, county, district and individual school levels, go to the California Department of Education website here .