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Standardized Test Scores in Berkeley Surpass State, Fall Behind County

STAR scores continued on up this year for East Bay students, though an achievement gap persists between white and Asian students and their black, Latino or low-income peers.

East Bay students scored higher than the state average in English and math, according to just-released standardized test results.

Some 4.7 million students took the 2011 Standardized Testing and Reporting assessment — called STAR. Fifty-four percent of them scored proficient or more in English-language arts and 50 percent in math, according to the California Department of Education.

Berkeley Unified School District students surpassed those averages — More than 60 percent of them scored grade-level or higher in English and 54 percent in math. Although Berkeley students scored slightly higher than the Alameda County average for English, the district fell behind in math. Scores also dropped from last year for science, as well as history in grades 5, 8 and 10. 

In Alameda County where 162,410 students were tested, 59.6 percent scored at least proficient in English and 54.4 percent in math.

In Contra Costa County, scores were nearly the same: 60.6 percent proficient or more in language and 55.1 percent in math among the  tested.

Students in second through 11th grades are tested in several subjects on a scale from far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient or advanced.

Both state and East Bay scores are the highest since the program launched in 2003. That first year, just 35 percent of California students ranked proficient in math and English.

“The significant and sustained improvements we’ve seen for nine consecutive years prove how hard teachers, school employees, administrators and parents are working to help students achieve despite budget cuts that have affected our schools,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement.

“Their heroic teamwork is paying off for California.”

Though overall test scores went up, an achievement gap remains.

Black and Latino students continue to lag behind their white and Asian peers. Students from poor families or those for whom English is a second language also struggle to keep up, numbers show.

STAR scores are used to come up with schools' Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress report. Dropout and exit exam rates also factor into the API and AYP assessments.

Dropout rates were released Friday, those for the California High School Exit Exam are due out next week and the AYP and API scores on Aug. 31.

Berkeley Unified School District

  • 60.8 percent ranked grade-level or higher in English, 54 percent in math
  • 6,556 students took the test
  • In 2010, half of Berkeley students were proficient or advanced in history. This year, that total fell to 45.4 percent.
  • Last year's science CST (grades 5, 8 and 10) saw 56.1 percent of students scoring proficient or above. In 2011, the total dropped to 55.9 percent. 
  • View Berkeley High's scores here. To see results for other schools, go here and enter the name of the school whose results you want to see.
Debbi D'Angelo August 19, 2011 at 11:36 PM
My name is Debbi D'Angelo, I am the Director of Evaluation and Assessment for Berkeley Unified School District. In response to your article about BUSD's achievement, it is important to also look at achievement by grade level. When measuring BUSD's achievement in English Language Arts, students in Grades 2 - 9 outperformed the county in each grade and overall. The same is true for Grades 2-7 Mathematics and Algebra I. Our High School is aware of the differential in achievement and through the WASC process is targeting strategies to assure that students are achieving on the California Standards Tests. As our Graduation Rate and ACT scores will attest to, our High School students are Career and College Ready and surpass the county and the state in both. I have attached a comparison by Grade Level as well as the CDE Link to grade level achievement. I have also our press-release regarding performance and graduation rates. Please feel free to contact me with questions.

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