Students score big in state test

Student scores in overall English Language Arts jumped by 2% in La Cañada schools, from 88.3% to 90.3%, according to data released by the state Department of Education Monday. Across-the-board mathematics scores on the 2011 California standardized tests continued to hover just above 82%.

“Improving by an overall 2% at these high scores already is truly exceptional,” said Lindi Dreibelbis Arthur, director of assessment for the district.

Arthur, who is responsible for breaking the data down by grade and school, said that La Cañada student performance improved from last year in 16 out of the 19 areas tested at the high-school level.

La Cañada Unified School District ranks first, second or third in the state at each grade level in the English Language Arts category, with the highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding the state performance targets, Arthur said.

Students in grades two through 11 took the language arts test last spring. It is composed of 65 multiple-choice questions for second- and third-graders and 75 questions for grades four through 11. An additional eight points are possible for the writing portion given to students in grades four and seven.

The most growth was seen in world history, with scores increasing by 8%. Science in 8th grade and 10th grade English language arts both improved by 6%. Biology and Algebra I dipped by 2% and geometry declined by 7%.

The La Cañada district ranks number two in the state among unified districts. School board member Cindy Wilcox pointed out that the standardized testing results are a major component in attaining that ranking. Because the test is aligned to the curriculum, Wilcox said she believes that it is a good measure of teaching and learning the curriculum.

The Standardized Testing and Reporting program, signed into legislation in 1997 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, is the state’s primary tool for measuring students’ knowledge of the state standards and holding schools — specifically their teachers and principals — and school districts accountable.

“I am very proud of our continuing high performance,” said Arthur, “due to focused administrators, teachers and staff, serious students and our very supportive parents and community.”

The standardized testing results can be found at

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