Ramona students score higher for ninth straight year
“The STAR scores are here and the stars in Ramona are shining even brighter than last year.”
Assistant Superintendent Cathy Pierce, Ed.D.
By Rose Marie Scott-Blair
Standardized test scores released for 2011 show that Ramona Unified School District improved performance for the ninth straight year, a “pattern of remarkable success,” said Cathy Pierce, assistant superintendent of educational services.
The Ramona scores are higher than state and county averages in every major area.
Almost 4,800 Ramona students were tested this spring as part of the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. A student’s scores are ranked on a five-tier system, with “advanced” and “proficient” being the best, followed by “basic,” “below basic” and “far below basic.”
In English-language arts, 61.5 percent of Ramona Unified students from grades two through 11 were rated as advanced or proficient, and scores were maintained or increased in all but three grades — fifth, eighth and 10th. The average for San Diego County was 60.2 percent, compared with 54.4 percent statewide. In Ramona, second-graders showed the biggest jump, with scores 9 percent higher than last year, and 11-graders were up 8 percent.
Math scores, tested in grades two through seven, were maintained or increased at all levels, except one, in Ramona, Pierce said. In total, 57.5 percent of these students scored as advanced or proficient, compared with 54.2 percent in the county and 50.3 percent statewide. In Ramona, third-graders showed the greatest gain—11 percent over last year, Pierce said.
Science is tested in the fifth and eighth grade and in four different high school courses: biology, chemistry, earth and physics. In Ramona, scores were up over last year in all six of these areas, with biology students showing the great gain, 12 percent, Pierce said. Overall, 67.9 percent of Ramona students scored as advanced or proficient, compared with 62.1 percent in the county and 57 percent in the state.
Students in eighth and 11th grades are tested for social science and history, and both grades in Ramona were higher than last year, with 52.9 percent rated as advanced or proficient, Pierce said. The countywide figure is 52.1 percent, compared with 47.7 percent in the state.
In total, there are 33 different STAR assessments, and Ramona Unified students increased or maintained in 29 of these categories for “another historic high level of achievement,” Pierce said.
“Research tells us the most powerful catalyst to increase student learning is the teacher,” Pierce said. “And the STAR data tells us the teachers in Ramona are making a difference in learning. Each year Ramona Unified hits another data milestone greater than the year before.”
In releasing the figures, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson noted that, statewide, students have shown improvement for nine consecutive years in spite of “incredibly tough, historically terrible” budget cuts.
“Just think what we would accomplish if we hadn’t had $10 billion cut out of the schools,” he said. He cautioned educators that “there is no room to rest here” and said, “We must redouble our efforts.”
For Ramona Unified, Pierce commended teachers, principals and classified employees for “teaming their efforts to address each student’s individual needs, provide support and intervention structure, and create content-rich, engaging lessons in the core academics.
“It is through these targeted, purposeful, aligned efforts that students in Ramona United have a truly exceptional education experience,” she said.
“It’s official,” she added. “The STAR scores are here and the stars in Ramona are shining even brighter than last year.”
Pierce is scheduled to give a detailed report about the STAR scores at the school board meeting on Aug. 25. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the Wilson Administrative Center Board Room, 729 Ninth St.
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- Schools ready for new year
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