Michelle Banayan news editor
The percentage of students scoring Proficient and Advanced on the 2013 annual standardized testing for Algebra I and Geometry had what Assistant Principal Toni Staser called a “sharp increase.”
“I had read an article in the LA Times about how the California standardized test scores were down,” Staser said. “However, when looking at our scores, I noticed that we actually had a sharp increase in our math scores.”
While a 3 to 5 percent increase is not uncommon, statistics from the California Department of Education show that 38 percent of students scored above Proficient in 2012 for Algebra I; however, that percentage moved up to 55 percent in 2013. Additionally, 41 percent of students received a Proficient or Advanced score in Geometry in 2012, while 53 percent received those scores the following year.
“I think the Algebra I test tested well because students may have taken the course previously and were already familiar with the information,” sophomore Bo Mee Kim said. “But I’m also surprised because I thought people wouldn’t really take the test seriously.”
Assistant Principal Dr. Regina Zurbano credits the improvement of the math scores to the recent changes within the Math Department.
“The school focused on accurate placement of students to better ensure their academic success in mathematics,” she said. “Students with the greatest need for additional support were identified and received additional intervention through programs supported by Title I funding.”
The administration strives to prolong the progressing effect of test scores by being in constant communication with both the staff and the students.
“We hope to continue this support by encouraging math teachers to analyze the CST performance data and identify strengths in instruction. We will also facilitate teacher collaboration to share best instructional practices across the board; continuity in instructional strategies from year to year will help students feel comfortable accessing the curriculum,” Zurbano said. “We also plan to continue to identify students that have the most need in order to provide them additional support through Title I supported intervention programs.”
In upcoming years, the CSTs will no longer be administered and will be replaced with Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAs) based on the Common Core State Standards. The SBAs will be taken via the use of a computer and will be writing-oriented in order to give students the “skills required of the high-need demands of the jobs of the future,” Zurbano said.
Therefore, although this year’s CST math score data will not necessarily be comparable to the scores of years to come due to the change in standards, it still works to provide information regarding the application of the recent changes within the department.