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STAR Test results: Language arts scores continue to rise in Hart district

But math scores show mixed results as state releases numbers

Posted: August 31, 2012 4:30 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2012 7:02 p.m.

William S. Hart Union High School District students improved their language arts performances last school year but garnered mixed results in math scores, according to state Department of Education figures released Friday.

The department released its Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, results Friday, providing the scores that will be used to calculate schools’ Academic Performance Indexes statewide. The APIs are the state’s benchmark for K-12 academic results.

In the language arts category, the number of proficient or advanced Hart district students in all grades except 11th improved slightly over last year, according to results available online.

In general math, eighth-grader proficiency improved 2 points, while ninth-graders saw an 8-point decline.

In cumulative high school math, the scores also dipped slightly. At the 10th- and 11th-grade levels, proficiency percentages dropped 10 points and 5 points, respectively.

“Fifteen students doing well may not be as influential one year (as another),” said Dave LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment for the Hart district, explaining district officials are more concerned with broader trends than specific numbers.

The district’s overall scores were higher than county and state averages by double-digit margins in math and language arts.

But it’s important to be aware that besting county and state standards doesn’t mean local schools are unaffected by budget problems, said Hart board President Gloria Mercado-Fortine.

Looking forward, the biggest challenge facing the Hart district’s effort to maintain high scores is the state’s budget crisis, Mercado-Fortine said.

“I think people think, ‘Oh, (the Hart district) doesn’t have a problem, the schools in our district don’t have a problem, the teachers out here are doing a great job,” Mercado-Fortine said.

“And they are, but they’re also taking on much, much more and still delivering results,” she said.

At some point, a threshold may be reached if the government continues to cut schools’ budgets, she said.

“The board has worked hard not to touch the classroom as much as possible, and what we’re finding is that’s becoming a real challenge,” she explained. “And I don’t know how much longer we can keep it up (if the cuts continue).”




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