SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Maureen Bradford                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70333                                   31 AUG 2012

 

Santa Monica-Malibu Continues Steady Improvement on California Standards Tests

 

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has much to celebrate in the 2012 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results that were released today by the California Department of Education, particularly in terms of high school mathematics achievement, where students posted a five-point gain in proficiency rates from 2011 to 2012. 

 

Both elementary and middle school performance in mathematics remained flat for 2012, with 81 percent of elementary students scoring proficient or advanced and 65 percent of middle school students reaching or exceeding proficiency.  High school students, however, posted a five-point gain to reach 40 percent proficiency.  Statewide, only 29 percent of high school students scored proficient or advanced in mathematics.  Rosa Serratore, the district’s Math Coordinator commented, “Our secondary math teachers have been working very hard on retooling the math curriculum and improving instructional practice.  We still have a long way to go, but feel confident we are on the right track to ensure that SMMUSD students are successful in rigorous and engaging mathematics."

 


STAR reports reflect student academic achievement on the California Standards Test (CST) in English language arts (ELA), math, science and history.  Student test scores fall into one of five levels:  Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient or Advanced. The 2012 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.  SMMUSD proficiency rates increased by one or two percentage points in each subject area except for history, which experienced a one-point drop in 2012 after four years of significant increases.

 

 

 

 

SMMUSD continues to compare favorably to Los Angeles County and the state as a whole in all subject areas.  Table 1 below provides proficiency levels for the past three years on the California Standards Tests.

 

Table 1.  Percent of students scoring proficient or advanced on CST

 

SMMUSD

L.A. County

State

 

2010

2011

2012

2010

2011

2012

2010

2011

2012

ELA

70

73

75

48

51

54

52

54

57

Math

59

61

62

45

48

49

48

50

52

History

54

62

61

41

44

46

44

48

49

Science

80

74

76

50

54

57

54

57

60

 

SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon, noted, “These relatively small gains over the prior year are part of a longitudinal pattern of steady and continuous improvement.   Our multi-year, upward trend reflects the high caliber of our classroom teachers and their on-going efforts to improve instructional practice.  I agree with the statements made by State Superintendent Torlakson that these increases are even more laudable given the deep cuts to education spending across the state.  Our work continues as we implement our strategic plan to address the achievement gap for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, English learners and students with disabilities.”  

 

As shown in Table 2, achievement gaps persist, though they have narrowed somewhat for specific groups over time.  In English language arts, African American and Latino students have gained 24 and 26 percentage points respectively since 2002, compared to gains of 15 points for white students during the same time period.  English learners gained 24 percentage points and economically disadvantaged students gained 28 percentage points since 2002.  Students with disabilities have made gains of 16 points over this time period.  In Math, gains for African American students lag behind, while growth Latino students and English learners outpace the growth made for the district as a whole.

 

Table 2.  SMMUSD CST Achievement Gains in

Percent Proficient or Advanced for Numerically Significant Groups

 

ELA

Math

 

2002

2012

Gains

2002

2009

Gains

Districtwide

55

75

+20

48

62

+14

African American

27

51

+24

21

33

+12

Asian

71

87

+16

71

82

+11

Latino

26

57

+26

25

45

+20

White

70

85

+15

60

73

+13

Economically Disadvantaged

24

52

+28

25

39

+14

English Learners

14

38

+24

23

44

+21

Students with Disabilities

22

38

+16

23

34

+11

 

Dr. Maureen Bradford, Director of Assessment, Research and Evaluation, cautioned that the data for students with disabilities is not yet complete.  "About 24 percent of students in this group take the California Modified Assessment (CMA) rather than the CST.  Another five percent take the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA).  When the results from these assessments are rolled into the CST results, we will see some increases in proficiency rates for students with disabilities."

 

Dr. Bradford reflected additionally on the 2012 scores, “On the surface, the overall small gains at the district level mask some exciting results in our efforts toward continuous improvement.  As we unpack the data – by school level, school site, subject and grade level -- several success stories emerge.  Sharp increases in achievement at specific grade levels and in specific subjects are noted as teachers engaged in focused professional development and intensive intervention for struggling students.  Second grade, for example, produced a seven-point gain in proficiency after remaining flat for the previous four years.  In addition, the percentage of second graders scoring either Below Basic or Far Below Basic decreased by five percentage points.  These results speak to our recent work in Response to Intervention, a set of practices aimed at progress monitoring and early intervention in literacy for our kindergarten, first grade and second grade students."

 

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Peggy Harris was particularly pleased with the fourth and seventh grade CST writing scores.  "SMMUSD's writing scores have continuously improved over the last six years, culminating in 2012 with nine out of ten students scoring at the highest two levels of the state scoring rubric.  This remarkable achievement is the result of the outstanding, research-based instruction and support that teachers provide."

 

At John Muir Elementary the English language arts achievement soared in all grade levels, increasing by nine-percentage points overall.  Muir principal Tristan Komlos, commented, "We are so pleased.  The scores reflect our commitment and focus on literacy at John Muir.  Through professional development and collaboration, teachers have succeeded in helping each and every student improve their reading skills."  

 

Point Dume Marine Science School posted an eight-point gain in CST science proficiency, reaching an astronomical 96 percent proficient or advanced.  "We were really excited and proud to see that big bump in scores," exclaimed principal, Rebecca Johnson.  "Our teachers' depth of knowledge in science and their commitment to sharing their passion for the subject with our students is paying off big time!"

 

Santa Monica High School's five-point increase in math achievement was a source of pride for principal Laurel Fretz and math department chair Marae Cruce, who will be further analyzing the data with their teachers in the coming weeks.  Ms. Fretz noted, "These increases truly reflect the commitment of our teachers who have been honing their instructional practices to make sure every student is engaged in learning."

 

Malibu High posted a six-point gain in mathematics.  New Malibu High principal Jerry Block commented, "In speaking with the math department and our leadership team, it's clear that the teachers have worked hard to focus on key mathematics standards, going deeper to ensure students understand those critical math concepts.  In addition, we want to congratulate Malibu High students who have committed to doing their best on these exams."  

 

The California Department of Education will 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 October.  The accountability reports, along with today’s release of CST results will assist school principals, leadership teams and school site councils as they develop new 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