DUSD test scores climbing

DOWNEY - Scores on the California Standards Test (CST) in the Downey Unified School District continued to increase, even while scores for the state slipped down slightly for the first time in years, state data shows.CST scores for the 2012-13 school year, released Aug. 8, also show that Downey Unified composite scores increased in all four subject areas - English-language arts, history, mathematics and science - compared to 2011-12. Test scores show what percentage of students tested are either proficient or advanced in the subject areas. The state report also shows that scores in Downey exceed the scores in the rest of Los Angeles County in all areas and exceed the statewide averages in English-language arts and science. Downey Unified scores in math trailed the statewide average by 6/10th of a percent. In English-language arts, the Downey district average showed 58.1 percent of the students tested in grades 2-11 were proficient or advanced, compared to the L.A. County average of 54.1 percent and state average of 56.4 percent. While the state average went down 8/10th of a percent, Downey's average increased by 4/10th of a percent. In mathematics, 50.6 percent of Downey students tested proficient or advanced, exceeding the county average of 49.6 percent but trailing the state average of 51.2 percent. However, Downey's district average showed improvement, up 1.5 percent from the 2011-12 school year. Mathematics tests are given in grades 2-7 and at the end of the course in higher grades. Scores in both history and science in Downey Unified dramatically exceeded both the state and county-wide averages and the growth rate from year to year. Downey Unified students scored at 59.3 percent proficient or advanced while the state average was 49.4 percent and the county average was 46.4 percent. Downey increased its percentage of proficient and advanced students by 1.4 percent, while state scores only went up .6 percent. Students are tested in history in grades 8 and 11 and at the end of courses in other high school grades. Science CST scores were even better with 65.3 percent of Downey students scoring proficient or advanced, an increase of .5 percent from the prior year, which was 6.2 percent above the state average and 8.3 percent above the county average. Statewide science scores dropped 4/10th of a percent, while scores in Downey increased. Science CST tests are given in grades 5, 8 and 10. Scores for the district have risen every year for the last decade. The district is still analyzing scores from the individual schools to determine where and at what grade levels scores may have increased or decreased. These CST scores will be used by the state to produce the Academic Performance Index (API) scores that will be released for each school in early September. While the formula for taking all of the test scores and turning them into district and school API scores is very complex, with the percentage of students in the proficient and advanced categories rising in all areas, it is almost certain that the overall district score, which last year exceeded 800, the level for a school or district to be considered "proficient," will continue to rise for the 2012-13 school year, district officials said.

********** Published: Aug. 15, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 18