Achievement test scores flatten out at San Francisco Unified 

click to enlarge CINDY CHEW/2008 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Cindy Chew/2008 S.F. Examiner file photo

More San Francisco students are proficient in math, but standardized test scores in English dipped slightly, leveling out the gains in student progress made in the 11 years since California Standards Tests began.

Math proficiency rates in the San Francisco Unified School District rose from 66.8 percent in 2012 to 68.8 percent this year for students in the second through seventh grades, a gain of 2 percent. Meanwhile, English test scores in second grade to the 11th grade dropped slightly from 60.6 percent in 2012 to 60.1 percent this year.

Across California, the average dropped for both tests.

California Standards Tests are part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting program. The tests are given to students in second through 11th grades. All students are tested in English and math, with some high school students also tested in geometry and algebra. Depending on their grade, students also are tested in a variety of history and science courses.

Test scores for history and science also dipped slightly, according to data released Thursday by the California Department of Education.

SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza said in spite of the leveling out of scores, it's important not to forget the progress that has been made.

"When looking at student achievement, the most informative perspective is to see trends and how students perform over time, not just one year of growth," Carranza said in a statement. "It's important to note that our students have made significant gains in English over the past five years and a positive growth trend continues in math."

Statewide, the slight loss of points was partly blamed on the state's shift to the new Common Core State Standards, which will change proficiency standards in English and math in the coming year.

Last year, students across the state were 57.2 percent proficient in English; this year that number dropped slightly to 56.4 percent proficiency. In math, 51.5 percent of students were proficient last year, while this year 51.2 percent of students tested proficient. An estimated 4.7 million students were tested this year.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said budget cuts also could have affected state test scores.

"As you would expect for a school system in transition, results varied from grade to grade, subject to subject, and school to school, but the big picture is one of remarkable resilience despite the challenges," Torlakson said. "While we all want to see California's progress continue, these results show that in the midst of change and uncertainty, teachers and schools kept their focus on students and learning."

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