SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Maureen Bradford                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 333                                      18 AUG 2009

 

 

Santa Monica-Malibu USD Continues Steady Improvement on California Standards Tests

 

The California Department of Education released today the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) results for the 2008–2009 school year.  STAR reports reflect student academic achievement based largely on the California Standards Test (CST) in English language arts, math, science, and history.  Student test scores fall into one of five levels: Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced. The 2009 results for Santa Monica-Malibu paint a picture of continued, steady gains in the percentage of students who score at the proficient or advanced levels on the CST.  The district continues to compare favorably both countywide and statewide in all subject areas.  Table 1 below provides proficiency levels for the past two years on the California Standards Tests for both the 2008 and 2009 school years. 

 

Table 1.

District, County, and State Proficiency on California Standards Tests (CST) for 2008 and 2009

 

SMMUSD

LA County

State

 

2008

2009

2008

2009

2008

2009

English Language Arts

(Gr. 2–11)

67

69

42

46

46

50

Mathematics

(Gr. 2–11)

55

56

40

43

43

46

History

(Gr. 8, 11, and End-of-Course)

52

57

32

37

36

41

Science

(Gr. 5, 8, 10)

66

69

42

45

46

50

Science

(End-of-Course Gr. 9–11)

48

47

39

29

35

36

 

Tim Cuneo, SMMUSD Superintendent, noted, “These relatively small gains over the prior year are part of a longitudinal pattern of steady and continuous improvement.   This multi-year upward trend is a result of the high caliber of our classroom teachers and their on-going efforts to improve instructional practice.  Our work continues as we build a strategic plan centered on narrowing the achievement gap for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, English learners, and students with disabilities.”  

 

Since 2002, SMMUSD has made gains of up to seventeen percentage points in science and history, fourteen percentage points in English language arts (ELA), and eight percentage points in mathematics.  Peggy Harris, the district’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, commented, “With a newly adopted mathematics curriculum in place only one year, it is not surprising that gains in this area have not kept pace with other subject matter.  We look forward to continuing our professional development in mathematics for 2009-10, especially at the middle and high school levels, where the needs are greatest.”

 

Table 2.

SMMUSD Percent Proficient or Advanced on California Standards Test (CST) for 2002-2009

SMMUSD

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

ELA

55

57

57

61

64

65

67

69

Math

48

52

48

51

53

52

55

56

History

40

45

47

49

54

50

52

57

Science

52

53

42

41

46

58

66

69

 

As shown in Table 3, achievement gaps persist, though they have narrowed somewhat for specific groups over time.  In English language arts, African American and Latino students have gained twenty and twenty-one percentage points respectively since 2002, compared to gains of ten points for White students during the same time period.  English learners gained twenty-three percentage points and economically disadvantaged students gained nineteen percentage points since 2002.  Students with disabilities have made only modest gains of six points over this time period.  In math, gains for African American and Latino students, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students also outpace the growth made for the district as a whole.

 

Table 3.

SMMUSD CST Achievement Gains in Percent Proficient or

Advanced for Numerically Significant Groups

 

ELA

Math

 

2002

2009

Gains

2002

2009

Gains

Districtwide

55

69

+14

48

57

+9

African American

27

46

+19

21

37

+16

Asian

71

83

+12

71

78

+7

Latino

26

47

+21

25

37

+12

White

70

80

+10

60

66

+6

Economically Disadvantaged

24

43

+19

25

36

+11

English Learners

14

37

+23

23

45

+22

Students with Disabilities

22

28

+6

23

27

+4

 

Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Sally Chou, commented, “Our community has come together with tremendous energy, commitment, and expertise to address the needs of students with disabilities.  There is exciting and groundbreaking work to be done as we develop a strategic plan for improvement across the district and in our special education programs.  Our Students of Color Task Force and Special Education Programs Task Force are already hard at work in analyzing achievement data and developing action plans.”

 

Maureen Bradford, Director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, cautioned that the data for students with disabilities is not yet complete.  The state has yet to release students’ scores from the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA), the exams given to students with significant cognitive disabilities.  In addition, results from the newly developed California Modified Assessment (CMA) have been released, but not yet rolled into the CST percent proficient figures above.  A more in-depth data analysis that compiles proficiency levels for CST, CMA, and CAPA for this particular group of students is currently underway.

 

Dr. Bradford commented additionally on the 2009 scores, “On the surface, the overall small gains at the district level mask the results of some exciting improvement efforts.  As we unpack the data – by school level, by school site, by subject, and by grade level – several success stories emerge that point to schools’ strategic allocation of time and resources.  Sharp increases in achievement at specific grade levels and in specific subjects are noted as teachers engaged in on-going, focused professional development and intensive intervention for struggling students.  At McKinley, Roosevelt, and Point Dume Elementary Schools, for example, the English language arts achievement soared in the grade levels of focus.  At Will Rogers Elementary School – where there’s been a multi-year, whole school professional development focus in mathematics – we see steep gains of sixteen points over the past three years.  That is simply remarkable, sustained growth.”

 

Principal of Point Dume Elementary, Chi Kim, elaborated on her school’s focus in improving second grade achievement in English arts: “We targeted our professional development on phonics instruction, specifically decoding and encoding multi-syllabic words. Our second grade teachers collaborated with our reading support teacher, who provided additional small group 
skill instruction. Their team effort paid off in terms of student confidence and results.”

 

Titia Murphy, Social Studies Department Chair at John Adams Middle School, was thrilled with the school’s twelve-point percentage gain in history achievement.  “I am very excited to see these results.  I truly believe this is what can happen when teachers set high expectations for all students.” 

 

The California Department of Education will soon incorporate the results from the CST, CAPA, and CMA, as well as the California High School Exit Exam, into two important accountability measures.   The Academic Performance Index (API) and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports are due to be released in early September.  The accountability reports, along with today’s release of CST results, will assist school principals, leadership teams, and school site councils as they craft measurable goals and action plans for the current school year. 

 

####

 

SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138

www.smmusd.org