Irvine Unified School District students continue to earn high marks on state standards tests


The California Department of Education has released the latest results of its annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program, and, once again, students in the Irvine Unified School District continue to post impressive stats in core subjects.

“We are extremely pleased to see the percentages of students deemed proficient or advanced on the California Standards Tests continue to rise,” said IUSD Superintendent of Schools Gwen E. Gross.

“Test scores do not define a district, nor do they reflect all of the great things that happen in a classroom,” Dr. Gross said. “Nevertheless, our staff, parents and students should be tremendously proud of these results.”

The California Standards Tests (CSTs), which measure student knowledge of the state’s rigorous content standards in grades two through 11, are considered the cornerstone of the STAR program, which assessed approximately 4.73 million students in the spring of 2010. CST scores are divided into five levels of achievement: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic.

In English/language arts, the rate of IUSD students deemed proficient or advanced in 2010 varied by grade level, from 66 percent of 11th-graders to 89 percent of fourth-graders. By comparison, 52 percent of Orange County’s 11th-graders rated proficient or advanced in English/language arts, as did 70 percent of the county’s fourth-graders.

Comparing this year’s English/language arts proficiency rates to figures from the previous year, the largest gains were made in the eighth grade, which jumped by five percentage points, as well as the second grade, which increased by 2 percentage points. The largest year-to-year decline, a 3 percentage-point drop, occurred in the third grade. (See the chart below for a five-year look at IUSD’s progress.)

Seventh-grade students also wrote essays as part of a writing test that was included in the English/language arts assessment, and each was later assigned one of four scores –  8, 6, 4 or 2. According to the state results, the percentage of IUSD fourth-graders who demonstrated proficiency by scoring a 6 or 8 spiked from 78 percent in 2009 to 91 percent in 2010. (The fourth-grade writing test was suspended this year as a result of the state budget crisis.)

In math, grade-level CSTs were given to all pupils in grades two through six. The percentage of students considered proficient or advanced ranged from 85 percent of fifth-graders to 88 percent of students in grade four. All lower grades outperformed their 2009 counterparts with the exception of grades two, three and four, which held steady.

In grades seven through 11, students took end-of-course math exams in subjects including algebra I, geometry, algebra II and general math. When averaged together, scores again ranged. Eighty-five percent of seventh-graders were deemed proficient or advanced, as were 51 percent of 11th-graders. The largest one-year gains were in the tenth and 11th grades, where the percentage of students in the proficient/advanced performance levels rose by 2 percentage points.

CST scores weigh heavily in the state’s annual accountability index and in the federal No Child Left Behind requirements. For school-level reports or to access specific STAR results from districts and counties around the state, log on to the California Department of Education’s website at http://star.cde.ca.gov.

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California Standards Tests: A Five-Year Look at IUSD’s Proficient and Advanced Percentages

ENGLISH / LANGUAGE ARTS

Grade 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 One-year change Five-year change
2 78 81 80 82 84 2 6
3 69 70 71 76 73 -3 4
4 83 84 87 90 89 -1 6
5 77 79 80 86 87 1 10
6 77 80 82 86 87 1 10
7 79 81 84 88 87 -1 8
8 79 78 80 82 87 5 8
9 76 79 82 83 84 1 8
10 68 68 72 73 74 1 6
11 62 62 63 67 66 -1 4

 

MATH

Grade 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 One-year change Five-year change
2 85 85 86 87 87 0 2
3 83 83 85 87 87 0 4
4 82 82 86 88 88 0 7
5 81 82 80 83 85 2 4
6 78 79 80 84 87 3 9
7 79 78* 81* 84* 85 1 5
8** 83 83 86 86 82 -4 -1
9** 69 73 78 78 78 0 9
10** 59 58 63 63 65 2 6
11** 47 45 46 49 51 2 4

 

* Scores include algebra I and the seventh-grade math test for the years indicated.

** Scores are averaged based on all tests offered at that grade level.