District students score well on standardized test | SierraSun.com

District students score well on standardized test

Sierra Sun

Overall, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District students scored significantly higher in all subject areas than the state average on the Stanford 9 Achievement Test (STAT 9).

They also scored higher than they did last year, the first year the test was used. According to district officials, 72 percent of the average scores increased in the same grade from last year to this year. And, if you follow the same group of students, 76 percent of the average scores increased as students moved from one grade to the next.

The STAT 9, which is published by Harcourt Educational Measurement, is a nationally normed multiple choice test of basic academic skills. A score of 50 represents the national average.

The students were tested in reading, mathematics, spelling, language, science and social science. The norm group was composed of 250,000 students selected from all over the United States. However, only 1.8 percent of the norm group were Limited English Proficient students (LEP), whereas 21.2 percent of students tested statewide were LEP and 9.7 percent of TTUSD students tested were LEP.

Three thousand, six hundred and seventy-seven TTUSD students in grades two through 11 took the STAT 9 in the spring. The state Department of Education recently released the results.

“Overall, it’s a general way of comparing progress. It is unlikely we will ever have a national test that is geared solely to California students,” said Jim Abbott, assistant

superintendent for TTUSD. “It’s kind of a general measure. But it lets you know how our students are doing compared to the rest of the country. It’s simply an average of all the scores.”

The scores of the non-LEP students are much higher than the scores of the LEP students. The overall scores printed with this story are average test scores for each grade for all students tested, LEP and non-LEP.

According to Abbott and California Department of Education officials, it’s important to look at how many LEP students make up the group tested to compare the scores.

“Our schools serve a population that is extremely diverse,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin in a press release issued July 22. “Children from over 80 different language groups and cultures enter California’s schools each year, and the students possess a wide range of English proficiency. Not surprisingly, these scores demonstrate that it is difficult for these students to do well in academic content areas until they are proficient in English.”

For example, the average scores for Kings Beach Elementary are lower than Glenshire Elementary. Kings Beach has 47 percent LEP students (137 out of 293) and Glenshire has only 1.8 percent LEP students (7 out of 381).

“It’s a big factor,” said Abbott.

TTUSD relies on multiple assessments to track the academic achievement of their LEP students. All LEP students in the district were given the Spanish Assessment of Basic Education, the state approved Spanish language alternative to the Stat 9. On these tests, they scored above the statewide average scores for all students.

“You give them a test in their own language and they can read and do much better,” said Abbott. “Because they are tested in their native language, they can read the questions.”

Abbott said the district also looks at the subtest scores, where they can match the content to look for areas that may need more attention. For instance, when you look at the mathematics test scores, some students score much higher in problem solving questions than procedure questions.

“We have more information here than what you see on the Internet. We can begin to look at differences within the tests themselves with the subtest scores.”

STAT 9test results can be viewed at http://star.cde.ca.gov/star99.

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