Mary A. Castillo
Results of the 2002 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)
program were less than what Laguna Beach schools wanted to see.
Last spring 2,097 students in grades two through 11 took the
English/language arts standards test. Students in grades two through
seven took the mathematics standards tests, while students in grades
eight through 11 took algebra I and geometry.
The mean scaled score for English/language arts for students in
grades two through 11 averaged at 357.8. The mean scaled score for
mathematics came in at 364.4. Students averaged 311.3 in algebra I and 334.2 in geometry.
Second graders achieved the highest mean scaled score in English
and in mathematics; eighth-graders scored highest in algebra I and
Scores range from 200 to 500. Scores between 300 and 349 are at
the basic performance standard and scores of 350 or higher are at or
above the proficient performance standard.
Students in grades two through eight also took the reading,
mathematics, language arts, and spelling sections of the SAT-9. In
grades nine, 10 and 11, students did not take spelling but took tests
in science and history-social science.
Although teachers have been preparing students to master content
standards, the district is taking strides not only to improve student
performance, but also to meet the needs of a student’s emotional and
“We should’ve performed better,” acknowledged Steven Keller,
assistant superintendent of instruction. "[But] we look at the SAT-9
as one measurement of academic performance. Unlike some districts we
align the academic and social needs of each student.”
Last year the district began aggressively looking for ways to
align the academic curriculum with the content standards mandated by
the California Department of Education. The district purchased a new
math program that includes introducing algebra concepts at the
“The board is very supportive and allocated extra money not
provided by the state to align our curriculum so that teachers had
the tools they need,” he said.
This year Keller is focusing on a new English/Language Arts
curriculum that will go into effect in fall 2003. In the meantime the
district will continue to approach the “whole child,” rather than
simply prepare students for tests.
“The upside is when our students graduate they will be socially,
emotionally and academically prepared for the world beyond K through
12,” said Keller.
The complete results of the 2002 STAR program are available
through the California Department of Education Web site