Math scores show progress on state testing

By Nancy Gutierrez

The results of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and California Standards Tests (CSTs) for Lindsay Unified School District show more than which students are proficient or not proficient in math, English and science.

They also show the progress that LUSD teachers are making with students who are English Language Learners and must learn English at a rapid rate with the implementation of these state and federal tests.

Under state educational codes all CSTs as well as the CAHSEE must be administered to all students in English. Other states, such as Texas, allow the tests to be administered to non-English speakers in their native languages depending on how long they have resided in the country.

"Sixty-five percent of our students don't speak English," said LUSD Superintendent Janet Kliegl. "There is no extra time in California. If a child comes here in fifth grade and can't speak any English they have to take a test that tells them how proficient they are. What we really can say is, 'this is how much English you know.'"

Kliegl said the district is committed to teaching students English and that programs, which LUSD has in place are rigorous and helping students to learn English at a faster rate. The latest scores reflect that progress.

CAHSEE

State testing results are reported in a list of subgroups which include, English learners, redesignated English proficient, English-only, male, female and socio-economically disadvantaged. The results from the English language arts portion of the CAHSEE shows that in Lindsay 39 percent of English learners passed. The redesignated English proficient category is made up of students who were once English learners but have mastered the language to a certain degree. Ninety six percent of students in that category passed ELA. Results showed that only 76 percent of the English-only students passed the English portion.

In comparison to Tulare County schools, Lindsay High School students did very well. Only 28 percent of the county's English learners and 80 percent of the redesignated students passed the ELA portion. When comparing the "all students" group the county fared slightly better. Sixty percent of all students in LHS passed the ELA portion compared to 66 percent in the county.

Math results showed more improvement. Seventy-one percent of all LHS students passed while the county average was 67 percent. Sixty three percent of LHS English learners passed compared to 41 percent at the county level. A comparison of redesignated students shows LHS having 17 more percentage points of passing students with 98 percent compared to the county's 81 percent. English only students fell slightly below the county average with 69 percent to the county's 71 percent.

LHS had the third highest passing rate in the the county in math.

CST

Overall results on the CST showed growth from the prior year in math and no improvement from the previous year in ELA. The most significant scores came from the eighth grade algebra 1 test. Steve Garvey Junior High School had 63 students take the algebra 1 exam.

That is double the number of students that took the test last year. Of that 63, 40 percent were proficient and 2 percent were advanced. Forty-four percent of those students were basic and 14 percent were below basic. None of the students scored far below basic.

"The math program at the elementary level has been strong over the last three years at Jefferson Elementary School and two years at all other schools," Kliegl said. "We've seen that filter through to the junior high. We doubled the number of kids in algebra in eighth grade."

Kliegl attributes the improvement to the Head-Pollet math strategies program that was implemented in elementary sites several years ago. The program teaches educators math strategies to use in class.

Director of research and assessments, Jim Grasell, said algebra is the gateway class to college bound students if it is taken in eighth grade.

"There is a high correlation between that and going to college and being successful," Kliegl said.

The district intends to track the 63 students as they advance through LUSD and into college. Grasell said it wouldn't be too long before there is a full seventh grade algebra 1 class at Garvey.

English language arts scores had been on the rise but results showed a leveling off. Kliegl said WestEd, an educational research lab that serves the Western United States, will visit classrooms in all school sites and work on instructional strategies for reading and language arts.

"We are going to look at direct instruction, meaning, prescriptive instruction," Kliegl said. "Teachers will not always have their kids breaking off into groups and doing work. We noticed that scores from students with teachers who did a lot of direct instruction went up."

To see all of the results from the CST and CAHSEE visit preview.cde.ca.gov/STARCAHSEE/star2004/.

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