The California Department of Education today released results from last spring’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR) tests, and it’s good news for students in the William S. Hart Union High School District.
STAR results are reported in the percent of students scoring on a five-point scale, ranging from proficient and advanced to basic, below basic and far below basic. The goal is to have all students scoring at the proficient and above levels, and in almost every case Hart District schools had 20 percent more students who reached that level of proficiency than the county averages in almost every category.
A number of local schools also beat their own previous scores, with eighth graders at Rio Norte and Sierra Vista junior high schools showing increases at every grade level in both English/language arts and math.
At Saugus High School, the number of students scoring proficient and above increased in almost every grade, ranging from six to 13 percent increases. Golden Valley High School also raised its percentage of students proficient and above by nine to 10 percent for both ninth and 10th grades. Golden Valley has no comparative scores from the 2005 tests for higher grades since it had no juniors or seniors in previous years. West Ranch High School, which had only ninth graders in 2004-05, beat its previous year scores in every area.
One of the district’s high points is in the area of eighth grade geometry, where 94 percent or more of eighth graders who took geometry scored proficient or above at every school. A resounding 97 percent of Arroyo Seco and Placerita junior high students who completed eighth grade algebra in the spring scored at the proficient and above level.
The number of students who completed algebra in the ninth and 10th grades and scored proficient or above increased substantially at every Hart District school and almost every school raised its scores for students completing ninth grade general math. When compared to average test scores in Los Angeles County, Hart District schools generally have at least 20 percent more students who score at the proficient level and above, and 20 percent less students who score at the below basic level.
In seventh grade English/language arts, the county has 38 percent of its students scoring at proficient and above, while the Hart District average is 59 percent. In eighth grade, the county shows 35 percent of students proficient and above, while the Hart District average is 57 percent. In ninth grade, the county average is 36 percent vs. the Hart District’s 62 percent; in tenth grade, 33 percent for the county and 53 percent for the Hart District; and in 11th grade, 33 percent in the county, 47 percent for the Hart District.
The county has 35 percent of its seventh grade students scoring proficient or above, while in the Hart District, 59 percent of seventh graders have reached that level. In eighth grade, the county lists 24 percent for general math and 32 percent for algebra, vs. Hart District averages of 47 percent for general math and 85 percent for algebra.
In grades eight through 11, scores are based on end-of-course exams for specific subjects. In general math, 20 percent of county students tested at proficient or above, while 40 percent of Hart District students reached the same level. Algebra scores were 18 percent proficient and above for the county, 43 percent for Hart District students. In geometry, 19 percent of county students test proficient or above, compared to 54 percent in the Hart District. In Algebra 2, the county had 22 percent proficient or above, while the Hart District had 43 percent.
In summative high school math, the county had 47 percent of students at proficient and above levels, compared to the Hart District’s 63 percent.
The California Standards Tests remain the primary measure of students’ mastery of the state content standards, according to Vicki Engbrecht, director of curriculum and assessment. The scores will determine schools’ Academic Performance Index, a measure of school success that will be released by the state Aug. 31, and the national Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for junior high school students. AYP at the high school level is based on California High School Exit Exam. The Hart District has mailed test results for each individual student to their parents, showing where that student falls against the state target for proficiency. Individual results also show the percentage of correct answers on specific portions of the English/language arts, math and science tests, and how those scores compare to the percentage of correct answers scored by proficient students.
Parents also are given an index number on the California Reading List so they can find books their child should be reading at their test score level. The state also released results of the California Achievement Test (CAT/6), which is given only to third and seventh graders each year. The CAT/6 is not specifically aligned to California state standards, but is designed to provide general information about how the “average” Hart District seventh grader compares with the “average” seventh grade student nationwide.
Hart District CAT/6 scores improved slightly over last year, with the average Hart District seventh grader performing better than 60 percent of seventh graders nationwide in reading, 64 percent in language, 64 percent in math and 63 percent in spelling. “Over the next several months, schools will be involved in a closer examination and evaluation of the test data and will use this in-depth analysis in the development to school plans to improve student achievement,” Engbrecht concluded.