Thursday, October 06, 2005

STARS on the Rise

Article Launched: 08/19/2005 06:41:38 AM

STARS on the Rise
We Applaud Teachers and Students' Test Results

It was good news all around California and especially in Solano County this week for a number of school districts.

Proficiency rates on STAR - Standardized Testing and Reporting - released by the California Department of Education this week show a statewide rise, and high school exit exam numbers are "exceeding projections."

It is certainly true here at home, where northern Solano County scores increased in nearly every grade level on the English language portion of the test.

Math was a little more difficult, with Solano County's second- third- and sixth-graders beating state averages, while fourth, fifth- and seventh-graders fell a percentage point or two below state averages.

Also on the rise are the scores of Solano County students taking the California High School Exit Exam, which students, starting with the Class of 2006, must pass in order to graduate.

High school students are first given the test in 10th-grade. The minority of students who fail at least one section of the exam have several more opportunities to pass the exam in order to receive their diploma.

In 2004-05, 63 percent of students statewide passed math, with 65 percent earning passing grades in English and language arts.

The numbers were more impressive in Vacaville, where 68 percent of the students were adept in math, and 72 percent passed the English portion.

Travis Unified School District students fared even better, with 78 percent passing math and 86 percent passing English. Both Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun unified school districts also showed improvement and exceeded state averages.

On the STAR tests, students between second-grade and 11th-grade are evaluated each year in math and English and the results are used to determine whether students are meeting statewide standards. Other subjects, such as social science and history are given in specific years.

While there is much to celebrate, it must be noted that once again, special education students, minority and economically disadvantaged students, and English language learners scored below state averages, both statewide and at home.

Without a doubt, more attention needs to be given in these areas to help the students gain proficiency.

On Monday, teachers will be able to look at the results by classroom, which can and should be an effective tool in determining where they should focus their energy.

While there is always room for improvement, we feel the results of the STAR and California High School Exit Examination show that local schools are making strides in their work, helping students come closer to hitting state targets. We congratulate both students and teachers for a job well done.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

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