Test results show steady progress, state reports

   Dr. Cathy Pierce, senior director of education service for the Ramona Unified School District, will give a report on the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results at the school board’s meeting tonight at 7.

   The Aug. 27 meeting will be in the Wilson Administrative Center at 720 Ninth St.

Overall, students in the district showed improvement with some grades performing better than others.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell stated in a news release that California students continue to make steady academic progress in English-language arts, math, science and history-social science.  

   In each subject, students’ results are ranked at the levels of advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic. The state target is for all students to score at or above proficient. According to the State Board of Education, the proficient level represents a solid performance.

   “Half of our students are now proficient in English-language arts,” stated O’Connell.  “This is particularly impressive if you consider that seven years ago, only 35 percent of students met this bar. The improvement trend in mathematics is also impressive with 46 percent of students now at the proficient or above level.”

   While applauding the gains, O’Connell also said: “We must also pay particular attention to the fact that a disproportionate share of students who fall below the proficient level are African American or Latino.  The number one priority of my office is to close this persistent achievement gap that deprives too many students of color opportunities to succeed in school and in life.”

   Ramona Unified students overall exceeded the average state statistics.  In English-Language Arts (ELA) grades 2-11, 56.6 percent scored proficient or advanced, as compared to 53.1 percent in 2008. In mathematics, 52.2 percent scored proficient or advanced, as compared to 48.3 percent in 2008.

   The largest increase appeared in science, grades 5, 8 and 10, with 60.4 percent of the students scoring proficient or higher, up 4.9 percentage points from the previous year.  All schools except Ramona Elementary and Ramona High School showed improvement in science.

   A modest increase was shown in the district in history, with 44.1 percent scoring proficient or higher as compared with 43 percent last year.

   Of the elementary schools, James Dukes showed the highest percentages of students scoring proficient or advanced.  In ELA, 80.4 percent of students scored at these levels, up from 71.9 percent in 2008.  In math, 77.8 percent scored proficient or advanced, compared to 73.3 percent last year.  Science showed a larger improvement at this range with 75.6 percent for 2009, up 10.6 percentage points from 2008.

   At James Dukes, second-graders demonstrated the most improvement from 2008 with ELA up 15 percentage points, from 64 percent to 79 percent; and math up 12 percentage points, from 75 percent to 87 percent.

   The highest percentages were in fourth grade at James Dukes with 92 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA and 91 percent reaching these levels in math.  All other grade levels at James Dukes also showed improvements.

   Mt. Woodson Elementary showed notable increases and scores in the advanced and proficient range. In ELA, students scoring in this range were up from 60.9 percent in 2008 to 67 percent in 2009. In math the range increased from 68.2 percent to 72.1 percent.  Science showed an improvement of 12.6 percentage points with 82.7 percent of the students scoring in the advanced or proficient range.

   Fourth-graders at Mt. Woodson showed the largest percentage scoring proficient or higher with 91 percent reaching that target in math.  Fifth- and sixth-graders increased their percentages in the target range from the low to mid-60 percent ranges in 2008 to the low-to mid-70 percent ranges in 2009 in both ELA and math. Second-graders dropped their percentage at the target range in math, from 70 percent in 2008 to 53 percent in 2009.

   At Barnett Elementary, 63 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient or higher in science, compared with 34.9 percent in 2008. Fourth-graders posted the highest percentage in the proficient or higher range with 81 percent in math.

   Although the number of fourth-graders in that range in ELA dropped 8 percentage points from the previous year, 73 percent still scored at that level.  

   Fifth-graders showed an increase in proficient or advanced in ELA from 58 percent in 2008 to 66 percent in 2009 and in math from 42 percent last year to 64 percent this year.  Second-graders showed the largest percentage decrease from 2008 to 2009 at the target level: from 66 percent to 52 percent in ELA and from 71 to 60 percent in math.

   Hanson Elementary students improved their 2008 scores with 54.6 percent overall scoring proficient or higher in ELA, up 8 percentage points, and 45.6 percent in science, up 9.1 percentage points. Math increased by less than 1 percentage point.  

   Sixth-graders achieved the highest percentage in ELA with 62 percent reaching the target range. In math, third-graders had the highest percentage at 66 percent in the proficient or advanced range.

   At Ramona Elementary, students scoring proficient or higher overall was up 5 percentage points in ELA, up 3.2 percentage points in math, and down 2.9 percentage points in science. Fourth-graders showed a notable increase and the highest percentages with 64 percent scoring proficient or higher, up from 56 percent last year; and 87 percent scoring in those ranges in math, up from 71 percent in 2008.  

   Sixth-graders showed the largest improvement in the proficient or advanced range with 56 percent scoring in ELA, up 14 percentage points from 2008; and 55 percent scoring in math, up 16 percentage points from last year.  Second-graders dropped in math, with 48 percent in the proficient or higher range, down 14 percentage points from 2008.

   Olive Peirce Middle School overall showed increases in each subject, with science (grade 8) up 3.8 percentage points with 72.4 percent scoring in the proficient or higher range.  Improvements were seen in ELA from 56.2 percent in 2008 to 61.7 percent in 2009. The highest percentages in the target range were 96 percent among seventh-graders in algebra and 92 percent among eighth-graders in geometry.  

   At Ramona High, students overall stayed relatively the same in subject areas except for math, which showed an increase of 7.7 percentage points with 28.8 percent of students scoring proficient or higher. Ninth-graders showed the highest percentages in proficient or advanced ranges with 58 percent scoring that high in geometry  as compared to 11 percent of 10th-graders in that range.

   In algebra II, 95 percent of ninth-graders taking the test scored at the target level compared with 14 percent of 11th-graders. Ninth-graders also did well in world history at 60 percent, up 4 percentage points, and in ELA at 56 percent, up 5 points.  

   Although 10th-graders showed a drop in chemistry, from 49 percent to 37 percent at the target range, 11th graders improved in physics, from 72 percent to 78 percent.

   Ramona Community School, which serves students K-12, showed the overall percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced at 54 percent and higher in all subjects. Some notable increases in the proficient or advanced levels showed 11th-graders increasing their percentage in ELA from 60 percent to 88 percent; second-graders increasing from 60 percent to 82 percent in math; and seventh-graders increasing from 38 to 58 percent in math.

   Montecito High School, an alternative school, showed increases in all subjects with the highest percentage scoring proficient or advanced at 36.8 percent in science, up 4.4 percentage points from 2008. The highest increase was in history, up 8.4 points, to 25.6 percent scoring proficient or higher.

   
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