Standardized Test Scores Show Student Gains

Students Scored Advanced Or Proficient In Math, English

Students in San Diego County continued improving their scores on standardized tests, with higher percentages scoring advanced or proficient in math and English, according to results released Friday by the state Department of Education.

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The improvement in scores on the 2012 Standardized Testing and Reporting Program mirrored increases seen across the state, according to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

"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."

More than 346,000 students in San Diego County were tested, with 63 percent scoring advanced or proficient in English-language arts and 55.3 percent in mathematics, according to figures released by the state. Last year, 60.2 percent of county students scored advanced or proficient in English and 54.2 percent achieved those levels in math.

Those scores bested the statewide average, which shows 57.2 percent scoring advanced or proficient in English and 51.5 percent in math.

"We're pleased to see that increasing numbers of county students are demonstrating proficiency in English language arts and math," said Music Watson, spokeswoman for the San Diego County Office of Education. "Over the last several years, we've seen a steady increase among all students in both subjects, which is a testament to the hard work of students, teachers, administrators and parents."

She said the results still displayed an achievement gap between certain groups of students, and which school officials need to continue to address.

At the San Diego Unified School District, 61.3 percent were proficient or advanced in English, and 52.4 percent in math. That's an increase of 2.6 percent in English and a little over 1 percent in math from last year.

However, San Diego Unified may have taken bigger strides in its test results if it was not hindered by budget cuts that impact classroom sizes and resources.

"What’s hindering it? Certainly the constant focus on the budget and how we're going to keep operating," said San Diego Unified Board President Dr. John Lee Evans.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District, which is the largest kindergarten through 6th grade district in the state, saw its seventh straight year of improved scores. Seventy percent of its students are proficient in English and 76 percent are up to the task in math.

"They come to school every day ready to learn, excited about school, put in a hundred percent effort, and they really do care about one another and their school," said Heritage Elementary School Principal Erin Dare, who credits the students for making the grade.

Dare's school, which is in the Chula Vista Elementary School District, scored an 84 in English and an 88 in math.

"Students in our district are out-performing their peers in California and in San Diego," said Chula Vista Elementary School District spokesman Anthony Millican.

Among San Diego County's other large districts, the Poway Unified School District scored an 80 in English and a 70 in math. San Marcos checked in with a 75 in English and 68 in math. The Del Mar Union School District scored 92 on both tests.

About 4.7 million students took part in the 2012 STAR program, which includes California Standards Tests, California Modified Assessment, California Alternate Performance Assessment and Standards-based Tests in Spanish for Spanish-speaking and English-learner students.

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