2012 STAR test scores for California

The results of 2012 Testing Season are here. They show, grade-level by grade-level and exam by exam, the levels at which students tested this spring: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, or far below basic.

You’ll find a short story here. On that same page is a database that will let you find your school’s scores and a chart with Alameda County school districts’ results in reading, math, history and science.

In a few weeks, the Academic Performance Index (API)  scores come out, largely based on the numbers reported today.

OUSD’s data department has compiled a dizzying array of spreadsheets, as well as a document from the communications office that highlights the positive notes.

The percentage of Oakland Unified students testing at “proficient” or “advanced” levels remained flat in reading and math (up 1 percentage point in reading, to 45 percent and flat in math, at 45 percent), dipped by two points in history and rose three points in science.

In the document below, OUSD highlighted the positive trends at some schools.


OUSD’s test score highlights

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Katy Murphy

    In case it wasn’t clear from the title of the document, that was provided by Troy Flint, from OUSD’s communications office.

  • Steven Weinberg

    The district’s emphasis on the improvement in scores for Students with Disabilities is very misleading. In 2008 almost all the students with disabilities took the same tests as other students. Over the next few years the state phased in California Modified Assessments which are tests that were developed especially for students with learning disabilities. Furthermore, the Proficiency level was set so that about a third of the students taking the test (almost all of whom scored Below Basic or Far Below Basic on the CST) would score Proficient on the CMA.
    The CMA is a much fairer test to use with students who have a learning disability, but it is not acceptable to pretend that increases in student scores from the CST to the CMA represent improvement in student abilities.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    @ #2

    It is my understanding that the CMA tests the same standards as the CST at each grade level. The difference lies in the number of questions and the size of the font used on the test. If this is true, then I would disagree with your statement “…it is not acceptable to pretend that increases in student scores from the CST to the CMA represent improvement in student abilities.”

  • Steven Weinberg

    Even if what you say about the CMA were correct, when you norm a test using only students with disabilities who scored poorly on the CST and then set the score for Proficient at the point where 1/3 of the students (none of whom were Proficient on the CST) are now Proficient, you cannot compare the two sets of scores.
    Even if you used the same exact test, but scored it differently for some students, you could not fairly compare the results.
    I believe the CMA also differs from the CST by having fewer answer choices for each question, so students have a greater chance of getting some questions correct merely by guessing. (I have not seen a CMA for several years, and I cannot find a sample on the state website, but I believe my memory is correct.)

  • TheRealIssue

    Yes, the CMA has only 3 options per question. This will cause an overall increase in scores because the probability of guessing the right answer is 33%, rather than 25%.

    In addition, the blueprints for the exams are slightly different. For example, in Algebra I, the CMA has only 1 item on applying quadratic equations to physical problems (for example gravity word problems). The CST has 3 items assessing the same standard.

    The CMA blueprints can be found here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/cmablueprints.asp

  • Steven Weinberg

    Thank you, TheRealIssue.
    While we all have to pay attention to the STAR results, it is also important to remember that the testing system is far from satisfactory. Tests are created by private companies whose major concern is making a profit. The state bureaucracy has a limited budget for testing, far too small to allow for the kinds of tests that would yield more accurate and meaningful measures of student achievement, yet they feel they must build public confidence in the tests they can afford and the private companies that provide them.
    Some of you might enjoy this 5 minute video that tells what happened to me when I tried to report an error on one of the state tests to the State Department of Education: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaXXQCMxYd4.
    It shows the no matter how bad a situation is, a single dedicated person, willing to try his hardest, can make things worse.

  • Jim Mordecai


    Wonderful job of showing the testing emperior has no clothes.

    My hope is that this utube video expose of the systems’ cover-up of testing errors will go viral.

    May everyone share this video far and wide.

    And, since testing is such a huge part of a teacher’s working conditions, failure to correct testing errors is a labor day issue.

    Wishing everyone one a happy labor day!

    Jim Mordecai

  • Steven Weinberg

    Thank you, Jim. Yes, everyone is welcome to share the video.

  • OUSD Parent

    It looks like some of the Oakland schools performed very well on the STAR tests. It seems like there is a focus on the achievement gap between Asian/Caucasian and Hispanic/African American student groups, but I also see an increasing divide in test scores between males and females, starting in middle school. In some subjects it’s 9-10% with the females outperforming the males. This isn’t discussed nearly as much. I’m wondering if anyone has an opinion or some data to address this trend. Or, is it a trend? Just curious.

  • livegreen

    This is a trend that continues all the way through college. & while most Boys orgnaizations were replaced by coed groups, Girls groups have grown dramatically. Case in point is Girls, Inc. which has no male counterpart of similar financial or national scope.

    Boys educational support groups are competing with efforts to get more women CEOs & other senior exec positions in Fortune 500 companies. This is a valid and noble goal, one that boys groups cannot compete with. Until that happens (& it is happening, though it takes longer to break through the hardest to reach glass ceilings and highest good ole boys networks) boys challenges and educational groups will languish..

    In the meantime more women are dedicated to supporting both general educational programs and girls programs than boys programs. Men aren’t contributing as much as women, period. So younger males are becoming the new disadvantaged.

    I wonder if righting one historical wrong all the way to the top will create a new historical wrong at the [age & income] bottom? Or if this trend will be realized in time that both wrongs can be righted simultaneously?

    PS. Without just prescribing drugs for the great male in-classroom weakness that is natural testosterone & it’s resulting ADD.

    PPS. Men, get off your butts and start volunteering for our youth in real tangible ways (not just pontificating about it and theorizing which political systems work best). Learn from our women allies. Our youth NEED YOU! Actively!

  • livegreen

    In OUSD here is a DRAMATIC drop in both ELA and Math scores from 5th to 6th Grades. Is this because it’s a dropoff point for so many OUSD families? Or is there another reason?

    It is interesting g that there is NO significant drop between 3rd and 4th Grades despite that it is historically another dropoff point. So either less families are dropping off or students are doing better or both. Either way it looks like K-5 schools are doing their job and it is not advantageous to go private or move out of OUSD at that age.

    Why are there seperate scors for both Math and Algebra in 7th? Some students do one vs the other without it being considered advanced/proficient vs basic or below basic? Is that also the reason for the drop in Algebra scores from 7th to 8th Grades?

    What is Grade 13?

  • 4Teacher

    i think grade 13 is geometry

  • Nontcair

    This testing mania has got to STOP.

    The institution mainly benefits the GOP controlled firms who design the tests, the school district administrators and statisticians who get paid to analyze what the scores mean, and the private learning services hired by rich folks afraid their merely proficient child won’t make it into Stanford.

    I’m convinced that the testing system serves a bipartisan political imperative of making the kids look bad. DEMs use low scores to politick for more government funding for education. GOPs use them to argue for Charter Schools and vouchers.

    I’ve actually examined some of the tests given to the older kids. I challenge all of those mealy-mouthed politicians who demagogue about the need for “more testing, more testing” to actually take one of them.

    Those who don’t test at least proficient get thrown out of office, lose their drivers license, and can’t play sports (meaning $1,000 rounds of golf with and paid for by lobbyists).

  • anon

    Likely reason for drop in Algebra scores from grade 7 to 8 is that these days, the policy is to take Alg in 8th grade, ready or not. The students who take Alg in 7th grade have “tested in” to the class, and show high math skills overall, so they have a propensity toward math and will test better in general.

  • Hugh

    That’s what I was thinking. 1. I’d like to know from OUSD Administrators & Board Members: what is OUSD doing to improve academics at these points of big drops in scores?

    2. Also, I heard in passing from an OUSD Middle School Math teacher that OUSD is using some innovative and promising teaching methods in Middle School. Anybody know more about this?

    Katy, can you get more info from OUSD on both points?

  • Katy Murphy

    There’ll be a presentation to the school board about the test results — probably later this month. I’ll post a link to the video and any analysis that’s posted on the site.

    Thanks for the middle school math tip. Sounds interesting. I’ll check it out. Anyone here know what promising new teaching methods Hugh might be referring to?

  • AC Mom

    The best part of this is that I an OUSD parent have yet to see my child’s test results…Good job State and OUSD! Katy, do you know why student’s individual results are so late?

  • Calimama

    AC Mom,

    We only received ours last week–maybe Wed or Thurs? They were especially late this year because there was some kind of breach in the system and they wanted to make sure everything was in order (sorry my details are so sketchy).

  • Katy Murphy

    Here’s the story my colleague Theresa Harrington wrote about the security breach: http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_21106543/security-breach-delays-star-test-results-two-weeks

  • AC Mom

    Thank you both for the info. I just don’t understand why the scores take so long to process, year after year…Students should have their results by or before the end of the school year that they were taken. My $0.02…

  • Nontcair

    The government delays release of its education test score results for the same reason that it delays release of its election results.

  • makeitgoaway

    No, in 2013, the State announced that we will get the test results in 10 days to 2 weeks, which will be a game changer, as teachers will be immediately accountable (and should be immediately rewarded or chastised), and the kids who didn’t try should have their grades immediately lowered, as well. This will finally make it a high stakes test.

  • OUSD Parent

    I thought they were going to scrap the STAR testing altogether.