STAR Results Show Upward Trend; IB Students Still Test Below Average

2012 STAR test results showed signs of improvement in many subjects since 2010 for Mar Vista Middle School and High School students, but the percentage considered proficient or advanced in core subject was still below district, county and state averages

A smaller share of Imperial Beach students were proficient or advanced in English-language arts, history/social science, math and science in spring testing than their county and statewide peers, 2012 STAR results show.

Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test scores fall into one of five categories: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.

Basic, below basic and far below basic scores indicate the need for improvement.

Students who receive proficient or advanced scores meet or surpass state academic achievement targets. For more information, see an information packet attached to this story.

Compared with 2010 results, students have shown steady signs of improvement in all subjects but history, with a near 10 percent increase in students considered proficient or advanced in English-language arts during that time period.

The high school's STAR proficient and advanced scores remain below district, county and state averages in all subjects.

The widest gap is in math scores.

About one in four students, or less than half the state average, are considered proficient or advanced. All other subjects are within about 10 percent of state proficient and advanced averages.

Due to a and shared on a social networking site like Facebook, the school is still under investigation by the California Department of Education. STAR scores may be adjusted in the future as a result, a CDE represenative said.

Mar Vista was one of 12 schools statewide where breaches were found.

The has conducted its own investigation said spokesman Manuel Rubio. Both district and state investigations have thus far found that the photo did not impact test scores.

Possible disciplinary action against the student is confidential, Rubio said.

Sweetwater Union High School District students fell below county and state proficient or advanced averages in all subjects. Scores have steadily risen in every subject but math, where Sweetwater is more than 10 percent below the county average and more than 15 percent below the state proficient or advanced averages.

More than 40,000 students attend Sweetwater schools.

students considered proficient or advanced in history and math exceeded county and state averages. The school district began to offer 8th grade course for the first time in 2012 at Nestor Language Academy.

Results, only for public-school students, are posted on the state STAR site.

Sweetwater Union High School District STAR results (percent rated advanced or proficient)

2012 SUHSD
2012 state 2012 county 2011 SUHSD
57.2 63.0 55.8 50.3 HISTORY 50.9 48.8 53.0 49.6 43.5 MATH 38.1 51.5 55.3 39.3 35.1 SCIENCE 63.5 59.5 64.8 62.2 54.0

Mar Vista High School/Middle School STAR results (percent rated advanced or proficient)

2012 MVHS 2012 MVMS 2011 MVHS 2011 MVMS 2010 MVHS 2010 MVMS ENGLISH 49.2 47.3 48.2 47.6 40.7 39.5 HISTORY 34.5 41.6 42.9 47.5 34.7 29.3 MATH 24.3 38.5 20.7 53.5 17.1 43.2 SCIENCE 49.7 58.1 47.9 64.5 45.6 42.6

South Bay Union School District (percent rated advanced or proficient)

2012 2011 2010 ENGLISH 50.0 45.8 46.9 HISTORY 73.8

MATH 59.3 57.6 59.7 SCIENCE 45.0 42.4 40.8

GRADES TESTED: English language arts (2-11), history and social science (8 and 11 and end-of-course), math (2-7 and end-of-course) and science (5, 8 and 10).

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the 2012 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test results marked the ninth straight year California students improved their performance on annual statewide mathematics and English-language arts exams.

Some 4.7 million students took part in the 2012 STAR program, with 57 percent scoring proficient or above in English-language arts and 51 percent scoring at proficient or above in mathematics, the highest percentage since the tests were fully aligned in 2003 to California’s content standards, which describe what students should know for each grade and subject tested.

"In less than a decade, California has gone from having only one student in three score proficient to better than one student in two," Torlakson said. "That’s nearly 900,000 more students reaching proficiency now than in 2003—a remarkable achievement that represents real, sustained improvements in learning."

San Diego County saw nearly 372,000 students take the tests, with results reported as advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic.

The state Board of Education has established the “proficient” level as the desired achievement goal for all students.

State officials said of "proficient":

That level represents a point at which students demonstrate a competent and adequate understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by the assessment at a particular grade, in a particular content area. This achievement goal is consistent with school growth targets for state accountability and requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Individual student results are not reported online.

The state says: "School districts must forward individual STAR Student Reports to parents/guardians within 20 working days of having received the reports.

Parents/guardians who do not receive their child’s report should contact the school or school district where the child was tested to request the results."

Torlakson said she is impressed that students continue to improve amid budget cuts, but cuts could impact future scores.

"Even more remarkable is the fact that our students continue to make gains even as our schools—and the teachers, administrators and school employees working in them—are getting by with so much less," she said.

"As pleased as I am by the great progress many students are making, the deep school budget cuts of recent years make it ever less likely these gains will continue.

Preventing further cuts and beginning to restore what’s been lost are essential to helping every student learn and prepare for the future."

STAR scores are used for calculating each school's Academic Performance Index, or API, and Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP.

Information about the API and AYP is posted on the California Department of Education Accountability Progress Reporting Web page.

Mar Vista High School may lose its API score as a result of the test breach, .

What do you think of the test results? Share in comments.

Marcus Boyd September 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Five years ago, South Bay Union School District embarked upon a controversial two-phase process of redistricting a large number of local students. Phase two of the process included moving West View Elementary students, who scored highest on the STAR tests, to Imperial Beach Elem, increasing class sizes and nearly doubling the number of students at IB Elem. I became the most outspoken skeptic of the district's plan, as it was outlined by district officials. Many parents, teachers, staff members, and I found the reasoning to be confusing and a constantly moving target. We really thought they were attempting to lower the test scores at a couple of schools in order to increase revenue through the Williams Act settlement. I'm extremely happy to read, and say, that I was wrong!


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