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California Schools’ Report Card

In California, 4.1 million public school students in grades 2 through 11 took the Stanford 9 standardized tests this year. All of them were tested in reading, writing and math. Students through grade 8 also took a spelling test and students in higher grades took exams in social studies and science.

On Tuesday, the state Department of Education released scores for each grade of each of California’s 8,000 public schools. Here are scores, as reported by the state, for each school in Los Angeles County--the results for fourth, eighth and tenth grades--with the exception of the Los Angeles Unified School District, whose scores The Times published on July 15.

Readers who want to know how a school is doing can use these scores as a gauge. But keep in mind that these are results for individual grades only--not the entire school. Scores vary some from grade to grade, even at the same school.

To find your school’s scores:

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* Look first for the grade level: “Grade 4" for elementary school, “Grade 8" for middle school or “Grade 10" for high school.

* Then search down the column to find your school. Schools are listed in alphabetical order by grade.

* The scores appear to the right of your school’s name. The columns report testing data for the various subjects. Use the guide at the top of each column of numbers to determine which category the score is in.

* For each test, the chart shows the percentile rank achieved by students in each school.

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* The chart also has a category labeled % LEP. That shows the percentage of the students taking the reading test at the school who were classified as “limited English proficient.” Schools with a higher percentage of such students will tend to have lower scores in part because these students may have had difficulty understanding the questions, which were all in English.

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Note: * (an asterisk) means the number of students tested was 10 or fewer.

* HOW TO INTERPRET THE PERCENTILE RANK

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Even among experts, there is no one view on what a percentile rank tells about school performance. But a 50 means that, taken together, the school’s students were right at the national average when measured against a sample of their peers across the country--even though some students at the school may be doing quite well and others poorly.

A percentile rank of 25 or less suggests that many of the students are doing poorly when measured against the national sample. A rank of 75 or above shows that a high percentage of students are doing well. Some schools’ scores appear abnormally high, which may be because an unusually small number of children took the test.

Comparing the individual scores sent to your home with those of the school will help you gauge where your child ranks against classmates.

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* INFLATED SCORES

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Some schools’ scores may not be all they seem. Some schools and school districts encouraged parents to sign waiver forms enabling their children to skip the test--particularly students with limited English skills. The number not taking the test varies from school to school. If a lot of students who would be expected to score low skipped the test, a school’s scores would be skewed upward.

How did your school do on the statewide tests?

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* UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS / READING THE TABLES

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Main story, A1


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