El Segundo Sees Continued Growth in State High-Stakes Testing
Release of STAR scores helps focus instruction for upcoming year
El Segundo, CA – September 10, 2012 – Each year, disaggregation of California Standardized Test (CST) scores is an important feature of professional development to help shine a light on student achievement and help teachers calibrate their lessons and instruction based on student achievement. Happily for El Segundo Unified, the hard work and data analysis teachers participate in each year reflected continuing student growth and achievement, especially in the areas of English Language Arts, Writing, and Science.
Short of several data dips in grades eight and nine, English Language Arts scores rose across the board in grades 2 – 11, with the eighth grade losing 7 percentage points and the 9th grade just one percentage point of students scoring proficient or advanced. Fifth grade science continued its climb, with 91.5% of students scoring proficient or advanced, a whopping 98% of 9th grade Biology students scoring proficient or advanced, and 93% of 11th grade Biology students scoring proficient or advanced.
But where the most astounding strides took place were in the 4th and 7th grade writing scores, an important indicator of the depth of reasoning, critical thinking, organization and communication of these students – all skills highly in demand for 21st Century learners. Only 4th and 7th grade level students are administered the CST writing test, with 98% of Center Street fourth graders scoring 6 or 8 (proficient or advanced) out of a possible 8 points. Richmond Street Elementary fourth graders were almost in a dead heat with 97% scoring sixes or eights, while the 7th graders at El Segundo Middle School tied with Center Street for 98%.
ESUSD Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz was heartened at the writing scores, especially considering the transition the state is making from California State Standards to Common Core State Standards, a national set of standards which will be implemented and assessed beginning in 2014 with English Language Arts. “Everything I am learning about the assessment piece,” Dr. Yantz commented, “leads me to believe the ability to write well will become a much stronger and reliable indicator of student knowledge, rather than the ‘bubble in’ testing that our students have been assessed with since 1998. I feel confident our students are capable of taking what they’re learning in class and transferring those skills, such as reasoning, application, and critical thinking, to craft well thought out responses to prompts, as reflected in the 4th and 7th grade writing assessments.”
And as usual, no one in El Segundo Unified is content with resting on student laurels. “We are thrilled about our areas of success, and we continue to put under a microscope areas where we feel the test scores are not reflective of the level of achievement our students are capable of. That’s why data is extremely helpful in having thoughtful, reflective, constructive conversations as an educational community to see where we need to go next.”