State STAR test scores decline districtwide

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 5, 2013 

cpride@losbanosenterprise.com

Test results are in, and the Los Banos Unified School District did not see as much improvement last school year as it would have liked.

The California Department of Education last week released 2013 Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, numbers.

"The small loss we had is not a panic," Superintendent Steve Tietjen said. "I'm not going to get upset over the old tests when we have to prepare for the new state standards."

Tietjen said the district's preparation for the transition from standardized testing to Common Core state standards could explain the decline in scores.

"When the tests are aligned, I expect to see growth again," Tietjen said.

In 2010, California became one of 45 states poised to implement Common Core — encouraging critical thinking over memorization, embracing collaboration, and integrating technology. The switch to Common Core is scheduled in the 2014-15 school year.

In the meantime, STAR results remain the measure of how well California believes a school is performing.

An 800 Academic Performance Index score is considered the benchmark for schools.

In the Los Banos Unified School District, only Charleston and Volta elementary schools remained above an 800 API.

Charleston improved from an 842 API in 2012 to 853 in 2013, while Volta suffered a small decline from an API of 830 last year to 826 this year.

Lorena Falasco and Westside Union elementary schools both fell from the 800 API club.

Lorena Falasco was previously at 800 but declined to 786.

Westside Union came in at an 807 API in 2012, but the 2013 showing is 795.

Other elementary schools' API scores include Henry Miller at 724 (an increase of 23 points); Los Banos Elementary at 768 (a decrease of 19 points); and R.M. Miano at 772 (a decrease of 24 points).

Los Banos High School recorded an API of 731 (a decrease of 43 points), and Pacheco High came in at 736 (a decrease of 2 points). Los Banos Junior High received a score of 757 (an increase of 2 points).

"The small loss we had is not a panic. I'm not going to get upset over the old tests when we have to prepare for the new state standards."

— Steve Tietjen, superintendent

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