Between 2008 and 2009, 80 percent of Oakland’s elementary schools improved their scores in math AND in English language arts, according to a school district analysis. (A list of the most-improved schools is posted below.)
Oakland’s not alone in its upward trend. On the page 4 and 7 of this news release, you’ll see increases in English and math scores, statewide, especially in the early grades.
John Boivin, who administers the STAR Program Office at the California Department of Education, said there were no major changes this year in the test, itself, or in the scoring of it. He said his team hadn’t yet drawn any conclusions about why the scores went up.
Boivin did say, though, that the law only requires the state to change half of the questions on each test from one year to the next. In other words, experienced teachers have a pretty good idea of what’s going to be on it.
Terry Vendlinski, a senior researcher at UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), said Bob Linn at the University of Colorado at Boulder has found that scores typically continue to rise steadily until a state changes its test.
“If the test doesn’t change substantially, year over year, the teachers begin to learn how to teach the material that’s tested,” said Vendlinski, a former teacher.
Nevertheless, some Oakland public schools outpaced the average improvements, statewide. Below is a list of most-improved schools and their percentage-point gains in proficiency, provided by the school district.
Translation: If 40 percent of students at a school scored “proficient” or better in 2008, and 50 percent did so in 2009, that would be an improvement of 10 percentage points.
MOST-IMPROVED ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Bridges at Melrose – an 11.1 percentage-point gain in Math, 11.4 in ELA
Burckhalter Elementary – 16.3 in Math, 19.5 in ELA
Community United – 12.2 in ELA
East Oakland Pride at Webster – 15.3 in Math, 15.6 in ELA
Emerson Elementary – 15.3 in Math
EnCompass Academy – 11.3 in Math, 17.0 in ELA
Fred T. Korematsu – 19.3 in Math
Futures – 15.5 in Math
Global Family School – 11.4 in Math
Greenleaf Elementary – 16.9 in Math, 13.9 in ELA
Hoover Elementary – 10.8 in Math
International Comm. Elementary – 12.6 in ELA
Laurel Elementary – 10.8 in ELA
Lazear Elementary – 11.5 in ELA
Learning Without Limits Elementary – 12.0 in ELA
Maxwell Park Elementary – 11.9 in Math, 10.8 in ELA
New Highland Academy – 13.6 in Math, 10.1 in ELA
Parker Elementary – 10.2 in ELA
Redwood Heights Elementary – 14.1 in ELA
Sankofa Academy – 13.7 in Math, 12.9 in ELA
SEED Elementary – 13.4 in Math, 21.6 in ELA
Sequoia Elementary – 11.0 in Math, 14.6 in ELA
Sobrante Park Elementary – 10.0 in Math, 12.1 in ELA
Think College Now – 17.6 in Math, 12.2 in ELA
Webster Academy – 11.7 in ELA
Whittier – 12.3 in Math
MOST-IMPROVED MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Claremont Middle School – 14.8 in Math, 10.2 in ELA
Cole Middle School – 24 in Math
Peralta Creek Middle School – 34.2 in Math
Urban Promise Academy – 11.1 in Math, 13.7 in ELA
West Oakland Middle School – 31.5 in Math, 17.0 in ELA
file photo by Cindi Christie/Contra Costa Times