Glendale standardized test scores dip

Glendale schools experienced a slight dip in test scores in English and math, keeping pace with a statewide trend that some education officials blame on drastic budget cuts in school districts throughout California.

In Glendale, 70% of students tested as proficient or advanced in the English-language arts portion of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) exam in 2013 compared to 71% who achieved the same in 2012, according to data released this week by the California Department of Education.

By scoring proficient or better on the STAR exams administered in the spring, students achieve the state's goal in demonstrating competency in their particular grade level.

For the mathematics portion of the test, 66% of students scored as proficient or advanced compared to the 67% of students who did so the previous year.

But Glendale students still remain above the state average of 56% of students testing as proficient or better in English-language arts and 51% achieving the same in math.

Statewide, scores edged down by a fraction of one percentage point this year.

While there have been numerous budget reductions over the past several years, state officials have not cut Glendale Unified's budget for this school year.

And even though Glendale Unified has made more than $30 million in budget cuts since 2007, 12% more students tested as proficient or better in English this year compared to six years ago. And 9% more students tested as proficient or advanced in math in 2013 than they did in 2007.

"While we all want to see California's progress continue, these results show that in the midst of change and uncertainty, teachers and schools kept their focus on students and learning," said state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a statement.

State officials also blamed the lower test scores on California's transition to the new Common Core State Standards. In Glendale, educators unveiled a two-year plan in June to roll out the new standards that promote in-depth problem solving in math and thorough writing, listening and speaking skills.

By the spring of 2015, Glendale students in the third through eighth grades, as well as high school juniors, will be tested on the new standards. As the state prepares for new exams, officials said the STAR assessments have been valuable.

When the STAR tests were launched in 2003, only one in three students across California ranked as proficient or advanced in core subjects.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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