Contact: Tony Dahl

310-450-8338, ext. 286

For Immediate Release

August 16, 2001


"The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's state test results from this spring's test administration as reported indicate continued improvement in nearly all of our schools," Superintendent Deasy said today after a preliminary look at the 2001 results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program.

In May, students in grades 2 through 11 took part in the fourth year of testing for the state's STAR Program. Students in grades 2 though 8 took the reading, mathematics, written expression, and spelling sections of the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, Form T (Stanford 9). In grades 9, 10, and 11, students did not take spelling, but took tests in science and history-social science.

For the third year, students in grades 2 through 11 also were given California Standards Tests in English-Language Arts and Mathematics that are aligned to California's content standards adopted by the State Board of Education. In spring 2001, Standards Tests in History-Social Science and Science were added, as well as writing tests in grades 4 and 7. Standards Tests in Mathematics, in grades 8 through 11, and in Science, in grades 9 through 11, were tied to courses in which students were enrolled or had completed. The other standards tests are tied to specific grade levels.

Results of all Standards Test, except for the writing tests in grades 4 and 7, include the number and percent of questions answered correctly. In addition, the English-Language Arts Standards Tests results are being reported according to performance levels achieved. The five performance levels are advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic. Results of the writing tests in grades 4 and 7 are reported as a score of 2 to 8, with 8 being the highest. This is the sum of the scores assigned by two independent readers.

"We are pleased to have results for the Standards Tests in English-Language Arts reported according to the performance levels our students achieved," Superintendent Deasy noted. "Now we really can begin to relate this data to state content standards. Results of all of the standards tests now given for the STAR Program will become more useful when they include performance level data." This will help to focus our work on improving instructional capacity and student learning. "We are continuing our implementation efforts as quickly as time, money, and the availability of textbooks and other instructional materials will allow." In addition, we will now focus on building capacity at all levels of the School District for instructional leadership. Good data is vital in this process.

Results from the Stanford 9 and the California Standards Tests were posted on the Internet August 15. The superintendent noted that the Internet results should be regarded as preliminary until they have been reviewed. "Our test coordinator and entire leadership team will be checking the results for any reporting problems," Deasy said. "We need to make sure the results are accurate before they are used to set targets which will be used to close achievement gaps."

Once again, STAR results also are reported for groups such as boys and girls. Other group scores include those for students who are English language learners, students who are English only and fluent-English-proficient, students who are economically disadvantaged, students who are not economically disadvantaged, student receiving special education services, and students not receiving special education services. All students, including those who are English language learners and students in special education, were required to take the Stanford 9 and the California Standards Tests.

English language learners, whose first language is Spanish and who were enrolled in a California public school less than twelve months when testing began, were required to take the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, Second Edition (SABE/2), published by CTB/McGraw Hill. This was in addition to the Stanford 9 and California Standards Tests. SABE/2 results also are reported on the Internet as part of the STAR Program.

"We have very few Spanish-speaking students who were enrolled less than twelve months. While eleven percent of our District's students are classified as English learners, one percent are Spanish-speaking students who were here less than twelve months. We chose to test English learners who were enrolled more than twelve months with the SABE/2."

Deasy commented, "Now that we have four years of results from the Stanford 9, we can continue to use this data with other achievement information to see if our efforts to strengthen curriculum and instruction are having an impact. The California Standards Test results also can begin to help guide our efforts to implement California's rigorous world-class standards. We hope to see greater improvement over the next several years. I am particularly interested in trend analysis; or in other words, how are the same group of students doing over time?"

Parents, guardians and other community members with questions about the 2001 STAR results for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District are encouraged to contact the District Standards and Assessment Office at 310-450-8338, extension 286. Information will be available at schools sites after September 5. A complete report will be presented to the Board at its September 20, 2001 meeting.


Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 310-450-8338 fax 310-581-1138