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School district posts gradual gains in test scores


“But we need to go faster,” says schools chief Gloria Johnston

Richmond — At its August 21, 2002 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the
West Contra Costa Unified School District received a preliminary review
of test data from the Spring 2002 SAT-9 administered to students in
grades 2-11 during May 2002. An initial review of test results
indicates a trend of continued gradual gains in both total reading and
math scores when compared with 1998 results, the first year that the
SAT-9 test was administered.
California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR) data
consists of two parts—the SAT-9 results from tests given in Language
Arts and Mathematics, and data from a newer component called the
California Standards Tests (CSTs) that are given in English-Language
Arts and Mathematics. The California Standards Tests were given for the
first time in spring 2001. Overall, schools posted increases in the
number of students exhibiting proficiency in the English-Language Arts
test. The math standards test was administered for the first time in
May 2002, so no comparisons to the prior year are available.
District officials take special interest in test results for third
grade students, because one of the five district-wide goals for 2005 is
that 90 percent of all third graders will read at grade level. There
was small improvement in this area; 38% of third graders tested in
reading at or above grade level, an increase of 1% from last year and an
increase of 6% since 1998.
“We are encouraged by our progress, but in order to reach our bold
district-wide goals, we must accelerate our achievement growth quickly
over the next three years,” said Dr. Gloria L. Johnston, Superintendent
of West Contra Costa schools. “This is especially true with our student
performances on the California Standards Tests, since these tests will
become an increasingly important measure of our students’ skills and
“I anticipate that results from the testing we will conduct this
year will indicate such accelerated growth, owing to our continuing
focus on literacy and the new language arts plan we are implementing
this fall,” Dr. Johnston said.
Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc, Chief Academic Officer for the District, said
that over the next few weeks principals and teachers will take a close
look at their data, break it out by student subgroups, and then use the
information to improve school and classroom practices. “In brief, we
continue to make progress, we've got a lot of work to do, and we are
capable of reaching our 2005 goals,” said Dr. LeBlanc.
The California Department of Education will release this year's
preliminary STAR Program results at 10 a.m. on August 29, 2002. For
additional information go to
www.cde.ca.gov/news/releases2002/rel26.asp. On August 29, the results
will be posted at http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2002. The August 29 release
is considered preliminary, because districts and schools will continue
verifying and correcting data after the release.
For a copy of district results from the California Standards Test
and the SAT-9 tests, contact the WCCUSD Communications Office, (510)
234-3825 ext. 2245, 1108 Bissell Avenue, Room 215, in Richmond.

Run dates: 2002-08-26 - 2002-09-14

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