On Monday, La Cañada Unified School District received some good news in the form of test scores from the California Department of Education.
The scores came from the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) and the California High School Exit Examine (CAHSEE). LCUSD students have continued to earn high scores in both tests.
The state senate authorized the STAR program in 1997 for English-language arts and mathematics in grades second through eleventh, and in history-social science and science in grades nine through eleven. Since then it has gone through some changes and additions. In 2005 two science tests were an added requirement by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
STAR is a combination of two tests, the first being the California Standards Tests (CST); the second is the California Achievement Tests (CAT 6), sixth edition.
CST scores measures La Cañada students against the state content standards.
"These tests assess what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level," said Lindi Dreibelbis Arthur, director of assessment for LCUSD, in a press release issued Tuesday by the district office.
According to the district, between 81 percent and 88 percent of elementary school students are meeting or exceeding the state target for English-Language Arts (ELA) in each grade level. Math scores are slightly higher, between 87 percent and 93 percent, meeting or exceeding the state targets.
"La Cañada's elementary scores are extremely high especially considering that all students, including English learners and special needs students, are required to participate in the STAR program," said Dreibelbis Arthur.
The strongest performance from district students can be found in fourth grade with 94 percent of students proficient or above in ELA and 91 percent in mathematics. In almost every grade level La Cañada students had about 40 percent more students scoring in proficient and advanced categories than statewide averages.
La Cañada High School students also displayed a strong performance in the CASHEE.
For the first time this school year, seniors will be required to pass the CASHEE to receive a high school diploma. The purpose of the test is to improve student achievement in high school and to ensure that students who graduate can demonstrate competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
The CASHEE is based on California Standards, a set program of study consistent throughout the state. The Class of 2006 is the first class that has been taught the standards throughout their academic school life.
CASHEE is given for the first time in the sophomore year. It is given in two parts, English-Language Arts and Mathematics. Students who do not pass the test the first time are allowed to retake the test three times throughout the year in both the junior and senior level.
Ninety-nine percent of LCHS' tenth graders passed both portions of the test.
"We are very proud of the work on everyone's part that leads to this strong performance. However, when scores get this high it becomes more difficult to show improvement year after year," stated Dreibelbis Arthur.