Only half of all third-graders in district are proficient in English and only half of 11th graders in the district are proficient in math, according to STAR test results released Friday.
STAR, which stands for Standardized Testing and Reporting, consists of four tests developed specifically to assess student knowledge of California content standards, outlining what all children should know at each grade level.
In the , only 48 percent of third graders are considered proficient or higher in English and only 65 percent are proficient in math. Among the higher grades, only 49 percent of students are proficient in math and 69 percent proficient in English.
Despite the low numbers, both districts show a slight improvement from previous years.
Old Adobe Superintendent Cindy Pillar was out of town and not available to comment on her district’s results, but Steve Bolman, the superintendent of Petaluma City Schools, said the scores are just one of the many ways students are assessed.
“Everyone is grouped together and everyone has to improve year to year,” Bolman said of the STAR test, mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. “But that’s hard to do when you’re talking about English Language Learners who are just learning the language but are expected to be proficient.”
STAR consists of four tests including the California Standards Test, California Modified Assessment, California Alternate Performance Assessment and Standards-based Tests in Spanish.
But changes are in store for California schools as they shift to Common Core Standards by 2015.
The new, $330 million assessment system will include both multiple choice questions as well as essays and give teachers more freedom in the classroom instead of simply teaching to the test.
After all, the overall goal remains the same: to make sure students not only show improvement from year to year but are actually prepared for college or work when they graduate.
What do you think of the STAR results? Are you concerned? Or should federally required standardized tests be eliminated altogether?