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STAR test results: Local elementary school district scores generally higher

Posted: August 31, 2012 6:56 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2012 6:56 p.m.

Newhall and Saugus Union school district students are slightly ahead in test scores among Santa Clarita Valley elementary districts, but all four districts showed high scores on state Department of Education standardized test results released Friday.

According to Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, test scores, the Newhall School District posted the strongest scores in math, with all grade levels reporting at least 77 percent of students testing at proficient levels.

As with their high school counterpart, SCV elementary school district scores continued to best county and state numbers in all grade levels for math and language arts.

Throughout Los Angeles County, 48 percent of sixth-graders tested proficient for math, compared to 53 percent proficiency at the state level. The average for all SCV sixth-grade students was approximately 66 percent.
STAR test results reflect achievement for the previous school year’s classes.


“At the district level, we pushed every grade up — except for fifth grade, but fifth grade had an 81 percent proficiency,” Newhall Superintendent Marc Winger said of language arts test scores. “So we’re pretty pleased with results.”

Considering the district counts nearly one in three students as an English-language learner, and a slightly higher number are enrolled in its free-lunch program, district officials are especially proud of results, Winger said.

“The instructional challenges those kids bring are huge, but to get the kind of results we get every time is really just a testimony to great teaching,” Winger said.

But Winger was ready to settle on those results.

“We’re scoring above 80 percent proficient in math, but it just hasn’t advanced at the same level as language arts,” he said.

Saugus Union

Educators’ continued efforts with so-called “Brain Based Direct Instruction,” the adoption of an interactive instructional technique, was a big reason for Saugus Union School District’s success, officials said.

“We are very encouraged,” said Christine Hamlin, Saugus Union assistant superintendent of instruction.

“When we look at the number of students who score proficient and advanced at every grade level in language arts, we had more students pass over the mark,” she said.

In math, one grade level dipped in proficiency — fourth grade — and the rest went up.

The diffence for fourth-graders was a 2-point drop that left the district’s test-takers 6 points above the state average.

Castaic Union

There were several bright spots for the Castaic Union School District among their standardized score results, officials said.

“Over 95 percent of fourth- and seventh-grade students tested above proficient in writing,” said Janene Maxon, assistant superintendent of educational services.

There was also some work to be done, Maxon said.

“We had schools in grade levels that made gains, and some schools in other levels we’ve had declines,” Maxon said.

Math scores for the sixth- and seventh-grade levels were only 1 and 6 points ahead of the state average but a few points below other local districts.

As far as addressing improvement, the district is implementing a new response-to-intervention program that will help administrators track students’ results more regularly than the STAR test results allow, Maxon said. The STAR exam is given yearly near the end of the school year and the results released at the beginning of the following school year.

The program offers several solutions once an academic problem is identified, such as focused group study and a faster response.

Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs students improved their language arts scores in every level while keeping math scores within a couple of points of the previous year’s results.

The biggest area of improvement for the Sulphur Springs students was in third-grade language arts test.

The scores released Friday showed a 5-point improvement in proficiency over the previous year. The countywide average for third-grade proficiency was 44 percent. Sulphur Springs officials could not be reached for comment Friday for this story.




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