SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Maureen Bradford                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70333                                   17 AUG 2010

 

 

Santa Monica-Malibu Continues Steady Improvement on California Standards Tests

 

The California Department of Education released today the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) results for the 2009-10 school year.  STAR reports reflect student academic achievement 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 goal is for every student to score at the proficient or advanced level.  The spring 2010 test 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 and once again demonstrates increased proficiency rates in every subject area.  Table 1 below provides proficiency levels for the past two years on the California Standards Tests for both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. 

 

Table 1. District, County, and State Proficiency on California Standards Tests (CST) for

2009 and 2010

 

 

SMMUSD

LA County

State

 

2009

2010

2009

2010

2009

2010

English Language Arts (Gr. 2–11)

69

70

46

48

50

52

Mathematics

(Gr. 2 – 11)

56

59

43

45

46

48

History

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

57

58

37

41

41

44

Science

(Gr. 5, 8, 10)

69

70

45

50

50

54

Science

(End-of-Course Gr. 9–11)

47

53

30

34

36

40

 

Tim Cuneo, SMMUSD Superintendent, noted, “The gains over 2009 are part of a longitudinal pattern of steady and continuous improvement over time.  This multi-year upward trend is reflective of the high caliber of our 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 18 percentage points in science and history, 15 percentage points in English language arts (ELA), and 11 percentage points in mathematics.  Peggy Harris, Director of Curriculum and Instruction commented, “The three-percentage point gain in math for 2010 is a good indication that our district’s focus in mathematics is paying off.  We look forward to continuing our professional development for 2010-11, particularly honing in on students’ transition from elementary school to middle school mathematics.”

 

Table 2.  SMMUSD Percent Proficient or Advanced on California Standards Test (CST) for

2002 – 2009

 

 

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

ELA

55

57

57

61

64

65

67

69

70

Math

48

52

48

51

53

52

55

56

59

History

40

45

47

49

54

50

52

57

58

Science

52

53

42

41

46

58

66

69

70

 

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 25 and 23 percentage points respectively since 2002, compared to gains for White and Asian students of 11 and 15 points.  English learners gained 19 percentage points and economically disadvantaged students gained 23 percentage points since 2002.  Students with disabilities have made more modest gains of 11 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

2010

Gains

2002

2010

Gains

District

55

70

+15

48

59

+11

African American

27

52

+25

21

37

+16

Asian

71

86

+15

71

80

+9

Latino

26

49

+23

25

40

+15

White

70

81

+11

60

69

+9

Economically Disadvantaged

24

47

+23

25

39

+14

English Learners

14

33

+19

23

41

+19

Students with Disabilities

22

33

+11

23

31

+8

 

Dr. Maureen Bradford, Director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, cautioned that the CST results alone do not present a full picture for students with disabilities.  “The analysis for students with disabilities is somewhat more complex, given that some students in this group are assessed with exams other than the CST.  These exams, the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) and the California Modified Assessment (CMA), are specifically designed for students with disabilities.  Taking the results of all three exams into consideration boosts the 2010 performance level of students with disabilities considerably – with 43% scoring at the proficient or advanced levels in ELA and 40% scoring proficient or advanced in math.”   

 

Dr. Bradford additionally commented, “There are some very bright spots in our 2010 data, particularly at the high school level.  Malibu High posted a five-percentage point gain in mathematics, for example. Santa Monica High posted a four-point percentage gain in English language arts.  The school’s ninth grade English language arts scores continued to soar, with an eight-point gain over 2009.”

 

Dr. Mark Kelly, Malibu High Principal, noted the increases in mathematics performance, “We are pleased with the progress in mathematics and in the others areas in which we have seen growth.  Our teachers are continuing to strengthen their focus on teaching the standards and making sure that content is appropriately covered.”

 

An additional bright spot for SMMUSD is the increase in the district-wide percentage of students who scored in the advanced category.  In math and science, the percentage of students scoring at the advanced level increased by nearly four points, and in English by three points.  

 

At Lincoln Middle School, the percentage of advanced students in English language arts increased nearly six points to 53%.  Lincoln Principal, Suzanne Webb, noted “We’re very proud of our students’ commitment to learning and are thrilled by this increase in advanced level scores.  We have highly motivated, creative and dedicated teachers who are constantly engaged in professional develop to improve instruction.  While we are proud of the increases in achievement, we are not finished.  We will continue to work with all of our students – including those who are not yet proficient – to make sure they reach their full learning potential.”

 

The Will Rogers staff members are especially pleased with the 29 percent increase in advanced scores in Science.   Rogers is a budding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) school, focused on integration of science, math and technology across the curriculum.  Assistant Principal, MaryAnna Noveck and science teacher, Pam Dresher, attribute the impressive gains in science to students’ engagement in active, hands-on science lessons.  Dresher commented, “I think it is validation that quality, hands-on science experiences coupled with solid instruction pay off.  The students were interested in the science.  Their concern wasn’t the test.”  Noveck added, “I believe our school-wide focus on STEM, combined with our inquiry-based approach is reflected in our students’ enthusiasm for learning and the actual gains in science on the CST.”

 

At Webster Elementary School, 75 percent of students scored at the advanced level in math, while 69 percent scored advanced in English language arts.  Phil Cott, Webster Principal, couldn’t have been more pleased, “We were thrilled to see the percentages of Webster students scoring the in advanced range.  Although our test scores are consistently high and growing, we challenged ourselves by establishing the goal of moving more students to the highest levels of achievement.  These results validate our belief that students learn best when involved in meaningful experiences that are open-ended, integrate multiple academic areas, and connected to the real world.”

 

Dr. Sally Chou, Chief Academic Officer, attributed the district’s continuing gains in part to the tremendous support of parents and community, “We wish to highlight the efforts of our parents and school community and thank them for their contributions to our student success, as evidenced most recently by the Save Our School (SOS) campaign to sustain the District’s mission of ‘Extraordinary achievement for ALL students while simultaneously closing the achievement gap.’”

 

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 late August.  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. 

 

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SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138

www.smmusd.org