Poway Unified students do well on state tests
By Pat Kumpan
Standardized student test results released Monday indicate improvements throughout the region, including Poway Unified School District.
The results come from the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) tests taken in May by California students in grades two through 11 in math, language arts, science and social studies.
STAR test scores fall into five ranges: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic. Education officials consider anything in the proficient range or above as passing, anything below as substandard.
Statewide, 54 percent of students scored proficient or advanced in language arts, while 50 percent ranked at that same passing level in mathematics.
More than 373,000 students in San Diego County tested slightly better with 60.2 percent ranking advanced or proficient in language arts and 54.2 percent in mathematics, according to figures released from the state.
The county language arts scores were up about 2 percent over last year’s rankings.
In the Poway Unified School District, language arts scores surpassed the county trend with students testing at 79 percent advanced or proficient, while math scores were 69 percent.
PUSD’s goal has been to see more students reach both the proficient and advanced levels in all subjects, which means they have mastered the subject matter, said Eric Lehew, executive director of Learning Support Services.
In most subjects, that goal has been met incrementally year by year in most subjects, according to Lehew.
Recent test scores indicate biology students met that goal in eighth-, ninth- and tenth-grade levels by moving a few percentage points from proficient to the advanced level, he said.
Freshmen tallied 38 percent at advanced, 33 percent at proficient in 2011 results, up from 37 and 32 percent respectively the previous year.
Biology scores indicate juniors ranked 53 percent at advanced and 24 percent at proficient, up from 46 percent at advanced and 22 percent at proficient rankings last year.
Meanwhile, 63 percent of seventh-graders scored at the advanced level in Algebra I, a marked improvement from 55 percent at that level last year.
Test results for eighth-graders in that subject dipped from 21 percent last year to 16 percent this year at the advanced level and from 47 percent to 42 percent at the proficient level, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
In Algebra II, which is not offered to seventh-graders, scores for eighth-graders also dipped from last year’s 85 percent at the advanced level to 74 percent this year with a slight jump from 15 percent to 16 percent this year at the proficient level.
Test scores for Algebra I and II, also offered to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, have remained consistent for both 2010 and 2011 at advanced and proficient levels.
For those Algebra I students, scores in 2011 were a combined advanced and proficient rate of 49, 14 and 10 percent respectively, compared to 43, 15 and 11 percent in 2010.
In Algebra II, the three grade levels, also at a combined advance and proficient level, ranked 84, 39 and 17 percent in 2011 compared to 82, 52 and 19 percent in 2010.
Working to make students more proficient in algebra has become a district-wide goal, Lehew said.
In science results, such as physics, Poway Unified ninth-graders, scored a 78 percent at the advanced level and 20 percent at the proficient level in 2011 results, compared to 54 percent at advanced and 37 percent at proficient in 2010 results.
World History results rose for sophomores with a 42 percent testing at the advanced level in 2011, up from 34 percent the previous year, while the proficient level remained constant at 27 percent for 2010 and 2011.
STAR results help determine each school’s Academic Performance Index (API), which is considered crucial to federal reporting of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.
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