|(Sept, 26, 2013) -- (Aug. 9, 2013) -- Long Beach Unified School District officials expressed encouragement at the results of the 2013 STAR tests (Standardized Testing and Reporting) released by the CA Dept. of Education on
LBUSD's results districtwide rose slightly in three of five subject areas while statewide scores dipped slightly in all but one area, putting LBUSD near the statewide averages despite the district's challenging demographics, LBUSD spokesman Chris Eftychiou said.
LBUSD had an especially bright spot in 8th grade Algebra proficiency: 73% of LBUSD students scored proficient or above, far surpassing a statewide average of only 50%. LBUSD's 8th grade Algebra proficiency increased 4% from a year earlier and a release notes that this took place "even as Long Beach enrolled a greater percentage of students in this course (60% compared to the state's 58%)." An LBUSD release notes that Algebra is "widely considered to be a gatekeeper course for college admission" and adds:
[Release text] Long Beach’s superior proficiency rate in eighth grade algebra was reported at schools in all geographic areas of the school district, including demographically challenged schools like Franklin Middle School, where 74% of students scored proficient or above in eighth grade algebra, with more than 63% of eighth graders enrolled in that course. At Franklin, nearly 100% of students live in poverty, as determined by eligibility for free and reduced price meals.
LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser says in the release, "We've focused on eighth grade Algebra because we know how key it is to equity and access to higher education. The aim is to help lift students out of poverty and give all students a chance to pursue college and rewarding careers. Clearly our work in algebra is paying dividends for students who come from all walks of life."
LBREPORT.com cites the data below with two caveats:
Just as LBREPORT.com has noted in the methodology for officially cited "citywide" crime statistics (which don't show specific neighborhoods where conditions may be better or worse), "districtwide" school results have the same unavoidable statistical issue: they may or may not reflect performance at individual schools (which may be better or worse than the overall "districtwide" number). For this reason, LBREPORT.com provides a link to details on individual school results which can be accessed by clicking here, then use the "pulldown" menus; choosing Los Angeles County and "Long Beach Unified"; to view ALL LBUSD schools, leave the school name blank and click "search"; if you're interested in just one school, use the pulldown menu to find to click on the specific school's name.
The data cited below are listed as preliminary because they don't include LBUSD's 15 year-round elementary schools, which will be tested later in the year.
For additional districtwide details, click here.
LBUSD spokesman Eftychiou notes that the "gains for Long Beach schools [in three of five subject areas while statewide scores declined] place them near statewide averages despite the district's more challenging demographics," he said. "About 70% of students here live in poverty, compared to 57.5% statewide," Eftychiou said.
"For more than 10 years now, we have seen an overall trend of improved student achievement, despite the serious challenges of poverty and statewide cuts to education. We continue to see encouraging progress thanks to the hard work of our employees, students, parents and many supporters in the community," Superintendent Steinhauser said.
"As always, we see areas where we can adjust and improve further. We’re analyzing the latest preliminary data carefully, and with the help of funding flexibility recently approved at the state and federal levels, along with additional resources from grants and the state budget, we anticipate even stronger gains in the coming years," Superintendent Steinhauser added.
Student performance at "proficient" level is what the State Board of Education in Sacramento considers a point at which a student shows a competent and adequate understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by the assessment at a particular grade in a particular content area. That goal is consistent with requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which includes "No Child Left Behind" provisions.
As separately reported by LBREPORT.com, the Long Beach Unified School District and seven other CA school districts (including Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Ana and San Francisco) sought and recently obtained a waiver from the U.S. Dept. of Education enabling those districts to avoid certain academic performance requirements of the federal "No Child Left Behind Act" by instead including
In Sacramento, the CA Dept. of Education in Sacramento issued a release saying statewide results had "slipped by a fraction of a percentage point this year as schools dealt with ongoing budget reductions and the transition to the Common Core State Standards. The release said "schools across the state continued to deal with the effects of years of budget cuts and financial uncertainties throughout the 2012-13 school year [but] led by Governor Brown, voter approval of Proposition 30 in 2012 averted $6 billion in further cuts to education budgets."
The CA Dept. of Education release continues:
The 2013 STAR results show that a significant achievement gap continues to exist for African American, Hispanic/Latino, low-income, and English-learner students, compared to their peers.
Further coverage to follow on LBREPORT.com/Schools.
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