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State releases this year's STAR results

Original post made on Aug 19, 2009

The California Department of Education released results for the 2009 California Standards Test (STAR) on Monday, showing some student progress at state and local levels.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 12:33 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Chris Chiang, a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Anyone wanting to analyze scores over a period of years can look it up themselves:
Web Link

Posted by teacher, a resident of Castro City
on Aug 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Huh? Regarding Mountain View Whisman, students "appear" to have what?!? MVWSD scores in Language Arts dropped across the board, moving the entire district into what is called Program Improvement No, not Continuous Improvement, but the opposite. If you wait for the district to tell you this, you'll get the spin version.

Posted by Teacher Too, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

And the acheivement gap also widened according to the results.

Posted by Observer, a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Comparing cohort groups, 2008 to 2009 (2008's 2nd grade score --> 2009's 3rd grade score, etc), there does appear to be some improvement. Numbers in either direction, up or down, weren't huge in most cases.

The advanced range had 4 cohort groups go up and 2 down; proficient, same, 4 up 2 down; basic 2 up and 4 down; below basic all numbers went down; and far below, 1 group went up and the others stayed the same or went down. You want the numbers in the bottom 3 groups going down more than up, the reverse for the top 2 groups. So overall, it does appear that the numbers are up. I didn't separate by ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

Overall slight improvement is probably an accurate statement. The details will tell a more complete story.

Posted by resident, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 21, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Well that's about as clear as mud. The problem here is the district's performance level is low to begin with on average. The district will be placed into Program Improvement status for failing to make adequate gains to bring the average student to meet at least a 'proficient" rating in the subject areas. Slight improvement from the starting point of below average show little hope for improvement over time. If the achievement gap has widened as well, then that would magnify the long-term problem even more.

Posted by parent, a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 21, 2009 at 9:51 pm

from the report entitled "STAR - MVWSD - All Students"

There are 21 scores (mean) for subject and grade. Of the 21 mean scores per grade per subject (NOT subgroups) 18 went up and 3 went slightly down. This is great! The district has a lot to be proud of.

I haven't looked at the subgroups or the schools individually. This is the total number of students for each grade in the district.

The API and AYP numbers are computed from the raw STAR test data and have not been released yet. It is impossible to say anything about Program Improvement because those numbers have not yet been released for ANY school.

The following post is just plain wrong, and if this is really a district teacher posting this, it's incredibly irresponsible:

Posted by teacher, a resident of the Castro City neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Huh? Regarding Mountain View Whisman, students "appear" to have what?!? MVWSD scores in Language Arts dropped across the board, moving the entire district into what is called Program Improvement No, not Continuous Improvement, but the opposite. If you wait for the district to tell you this, you'll get the spin version.

Posted by teacher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 21, 2009 at 9:56 pm

The district will be in Program Improvement... the message was put out to teachers on Tuesday. Why would the district lie to its teachers? What point would be served?

Posted by Parent, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 22, 2009 at 9:12 am

I don't know much about test results but is seems odd that the schools are supposedly always improving, but the overall performance of the district is low in comparison to other ditricts. It's a lot like gangs in schools, they are there according to the paper, but they are not according to the district. It all seems like political manipulation. I will vote out all incumbents on the school board. It's time for straight talk and honesty, no matter how bad things are potentially. If we can never get to the ground truth, how can we improve the schools as a community?

Posted by Another parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 25, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Anyone who has been following NCLB since its inception has known that lots of districts would end up in Program Improvement as the years went on, not because they are not improving, but because of how the benchmarks were set up. By 2014, you'll probably have far more districts "failing" according to NCLB than not. So it's not really shocking. I bet you'll see lots of districts with similar demographics to MVWSD in PI this year, next year, year after. Good luck to the state trying to take over all the "failing" districts!

As far as the district improving but still lagging behind other districts -- I don't think anyone is lying to anyone, they can't fudge the data. They are improving, but not as quickly as NCLB requires. Districts with diverse socioeconomic makeups will never have as easy a road to high test scores as will more homogenous districts like Los Altos or Palo Alto. Those are reat school districts, with wonderful teachers and parents, but it really doesn't take much to get great test scores when 90% of your parents have advanced degrees. Much harder when a large percentage of your parents don't have high school diplomas. I am not saying that one group of parents cares more--I believe that the vast majority of parents everywhere want their children to succeed academically--but it is true everywhere that children of highly-educated parents get higher test scores.

So I don't think it's fair to compare MVWSD to LASD or Palo Alto. Compare them to Sunnyvale, if you want, that's a much closer comparison. And no, I don't know how we stack up next to Sunnyvale.

Posted by Sean, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2009 at 6:57 pm

NCLB requires schools and districts to improve each year to make up for the compounding effects of low test scores year to year. If a school or group does badly one year, a slight improvement won't help the next year, when the school or the group will be even further behind. Seriously, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out why NCLB makes sense. What's shocking is how those against NCLB are so quick to deny this fact.

Posted by Another parent, a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Sean, the problem with NCLB is the way they structured the curve. It's not a steady progression--at this point in the game, districts must make huge leaps every year--percentage increases from year to the next that are difficult if not impossible. And by the year 2014, if you don't have 100% of ALL of your students (Special Ed students, even with severe disabilities; new students just arrived from another country not speaking a word of English, etc.) proficient, you will not be in compliance. Guess what? Not even Los Altos or Palo Alto has 100% proficiency, and they won't in 2014, either. How can you take a kid who is a new immigrant, poor, and several years behind his or her peers educationally, and in one school year make them proficient at grade level, in English and in Math? It can take 4-7 years to fully acquire a new language. How can you take a child with severe developmental or cognitive disabilities and get them to test proficient if they can't even read or speak? They are not exempted from this law. Setting standards and goals is good. But this law is unrealistic.

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm

In this day and age, and in this economy, we should expect high standards and never relent. Any one who doesn't strive for setting high goals for kids--albeit mere grade-level proficiency in this case--is short selling students and their future. NCLB makes sense, and I wouldn't expect it to go away anytime soon.

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