|STATE SCHOOLS CHIEF JACK O’CONNELL RELEASES 2008 STAR PROGRAM RESULTS SHOWING CALIFORNIA STUDENTS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release # 08-110, August 14, 2008
CONTACT: Pam Slater
LOS ANGELES/SAN JOSE – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today released the results of the 2008 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program that show California students continue to make steady gains in English-language arts, math, science, and social science.
“California public school students are continuing to make solid, steady progress learning the skills and concepts necessary for success in school and in life. Since 2003, 532,494 more California students have become proficient in English-language arts and 415,129 more students have become proficient in math. While we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goal of universal proficiency, this year’s gains are particularly encouraging considering they build upon five years of steady growth,” O’Connell said.
“The results also show significant increases in science and social science. California has some of the highest standards in the nation, and I am exceptionally proud of the hard work and dedication of our students, teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and parents that led to this achievement,” he said.
The STAR results may be found at: http://star.cde.ca.gov/.
In the six years since all California Standards Tests (CSTs) were completely aligned to state standards, the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced increased by 11 points in English-language arts (ELA) or from 35 percent to 46 percent, Table 1 and 8 points in math, from 35 percent to 43 percent Table 5. The percentage of students scoring at the proficient and advanced levels on the fifth grade science test has increased by 22 points since 2004; the first year the test was given Table 10.
The percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in grades two, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine have increased in ELA by double digits over the five-year span beginning in 2003 (Table 1).
The greatest improvement over the five-year period for math was made by students in grades three, four, five, six, and seven with the proficient and advanced percentage increasing by 15, 16, 16, 10, and 11 points, respectively (Table 5).
“While we celebrate the progress made by all subgroups of students over the last five years, we cannot lose sight of the fact that more than half of our students, and too many students of color, are still not meeting our high standards,” O’Connell said. “It is good news that all students continue to improve. It is imperative that we help those students who have historically struggled the most to accelerate their learning so they may effectively and fully participate in school, the workforce, and in society.”
All student subgroup populations have continued to improve since 2003, and the gap in achievement between African Americans and whites and the gap in achievement between Hispanics or Latinos and whites narrowed slightly since last year. But, overall proficiency rates for Latino and African American students were significantly lower than those of white or Asian students. (Table 14 and Table 15).
Particularly concerning are results that continue to show African American and Latino students who are not economically disadvantaged score lower in math than white students who are economically disadvantaged. (Table 8 and Table 9). In English-language arts, non-poor African American students scored at the same level as white students who are poor. Latino students who are not poor scored slightly higher than white students who are poor. (Table 3 and Table 4).
“It is a moral and economic imperative that we close the achievement gap. California cannot afford to allow our Latino students and our African American students to continue to lag academically behind their peers,” O’Connell said.
“While we must close the gap that exists between all subgroups, I am acutely concerned about our African American students. African American students as a whole scored in English-language arts just one point above Latino students, a subgroup that includes a significant number of English learners. This, coupled with an alarming dropout rate among African Americans, indicates a crisis in the education of black children,” he said. “My statewide P-16 Council has made a series of recommendations aimed at closing the achievement gap and improving the way we provide education services to African American students. We must redouble our efforts to find and share effective strategies that will help African American students succeed.”
Under the STAR program, California students attain one of five levels of performance on the CSTs for each subject tested: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic. The State Board of Education has established the proficient level as the desired achievement goal for all students. This goal is consistent with school growth targets for state accountability and the federal No Child Left Behind requirements. The state target is for all students to score at the proficient or advanced level.
This year also marked the debut of the California Modified Assessment (CMA). The CMA is designed for students in special education whose individualized education program (IEP) teams determined that the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) or the CSTs are not the appropriate assessments. Students taking the CMA typically make up approximately 2 percent of a school’s population, although the percentages will vary from school to school. Please note that before any new test can be fully introduced into an assessment system, proficiency levels must be determined using the results of all tests taken. Therefore, the results for those students taking the CMA this year are not reflected in today’s release as the performance levels have not been set.
Approximately 4.75 million students participated in the 2008 STAR program, which is comprised of five components:
California Standards Tests (CSTs) are standards-based tests that measure the achievement of state content standards in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science.
California Modified Assessment (CMA) is for students whose IEP indicates assessment with the CMA (currently for grades three through five in ELA and Math and grade five in Science).
California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) is for students who have significant cognitive disabilities.
California Achievement Tests (CAT/6) are nationally norm-referenced tests, taken in grades three and seven only.
Aprenda: La prueba de logros en español, Tercera edición (Aprenda 3) is a nationally norm-referenced achievement test of general academic knowledge in Spanish for Spanish-speaking English learners (for grades five through eleven in 2008).