By Nancy Gutierrez
As federal progress reports and state tests continue to raise their standards faculty and administrators in school districts continue to create new strategies and implement teaching methods that target students underperforming on California Standards Tests.
Schools are evaluated based on student performance on these tests at a state and federal level. The Federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report was recently released. Schools must meet specific participation rates, their state Academic Performance Index (API) goals, a specific proficient percentage from students and, for high schools, a set graduation rate.
Results from Exeter Public Schools show the high school and two of the three elementary schools made the AYP. Rocky Hill Elementary School did not meet the AYP goals. At Rocky Hill each of the student subgroups, which are rated in their proficiency on tests in addition to the school wide rating, were above the percent proficient mark mandated by the federal government, except for English Language (EL) learners. Each year schools must increase the amount of students who are proficient in the English language arts and math tests. This year 13 percent of students must score proficient or above in English and 16 percent in math. At Rocky Hill only 11.5 percent of EL students were proficient in the English language arts test.
The EL group is one that has been targeted by most schools for additional support with state testing.
At Lincoln Elementary School student scores have well exceeded this year's growth goals. Lincoln students who have shown weakness in certain areas of English or math are targeted for additional support. Lincoln principal Jane Mitchell said in reviewing the CST scores from the previous year, teachers found pockets of disparity in reading and comprehension.
"What we are doing is based on the general trend in reading comprehension," Mitchell said. "Teachers met separately by grade and collaboratively as a whole group."
Mitchell said teachers have implemented new strategies to help with specific problems. Students who need extra help are tutored after school and taken out of class for one-on-one help during particular class periods.
"It's a team effort," Mitchell said. "We have a great staff and the time we have to collaborate together really makes a difference."
The difficulty with the elementary level is that second grade is the first grade in which students are given state tests. The students taking the test change every year which can cause inconsistency in scores from year to year. Though Lincoln made the AYP, their scores actually fell by 43 points. However even with the large drop, the scores would meet next year's goals of 22 and 24 percent proficient on the English and math tests. Mitchell was especially happy with the EL student group in which 25 percent scored proficient.
Similarly Exeter Union High School had 23 percent of its EL students score proficient on the English test. Wilson Middle School students continue to do well with math. The school wide percentage of proficiency on the math test was 34. To see more results from the AYP report visit ayp.cde.ca.gov.