Condit, Mountain View Elementary test results were mix of hit and miss
How are our schools doing? It’s a crucial question answered annually by the Single Plan for Student Achievement, a report public schools are required to present to their respective school boards and communities.
Condit and Mountain View Elementary were the first local schools to deliver their SPSAs this year, presenting at the October 4 meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education.
Delegations from each site delivered an update on the achievements and challenges of the 2011-2012 school year and the school’s plans for the coming year.
The news was largely positive.
Kudos are in order for the students and staff of Condit Elementary School for not only meeting, but exceeding their primary goal last year. Administration and staff aimed to have 78.4 percent of students proficient or advanced in the English Language Arts portion of the California Standards Test, and 79 percent proficient or better in math.
Some 82.3 percent of 2nd through 6th graders at Condit managed to net proficient or advanced scores in the ELA portion of the standards, Principal Christine Mallaly and her staff noted. In the math section, 86 percent of students achieved proficient or advanced scores.
The school also aimed to close the achievement gap by having significant subgroups of its population—notably Hispanic and socio-economically disadvantaged students—improve their state testing scores. The results were mixed.
For 2011-2012, Condit set a goal of 79 percent proficiency among Hispanic students in the mathematics portion of state testing, a 0.5 increase from the previous year. In fact, Hispanic students showed even greater improvement, with 80.3 percent achieving proficient or advanced levels in math.
The less positive news was the achievement between Hispanic and white students widened in the area of English Language Arts, with proficiency levels falling from 78.5 percent to 74 percent.
The performance of socio-economically disadvantaged (SED) students on California Standards Tests displayed similar trends. Students in this subgroup also improved in math, increasing from a 66.7 percent proficiency rate to 72.3 percent.
English Language Arts testing again proved to be a challenge, with only 54.4 percent of SED students scoring at proficient or advanced rates, down from the 70.1 percent achieved the previous year.
Condit managed to meet school-wide Academic Performance Index (API) expectations, and raised API among 2 significant subgroups, Hispanic and white students. The API is the California accountability system that measures the progress of a school or district based on the results of statewide tests, essentially boiling the school’s performance down to a number. The overall API at Condit grew an estimated 6 points, from 919 to 925, over the course of the 2011 school year. Results for the 2012 school year will be released in October, as will official results for 2011.
After the report, board member Steven Llanusa complimented the Condit team on their school’s API improvement.
“You’ve got all the low-hanging fruits, and you’re really stretching to the upper levels of achievement,” he said.
Mountain View Elementary School had less success than Condit in meeting its primary goal for the 2011-2012 school year, which was to raise the number of students who are proficient or advanced in English Language Arts from 70.8 percent to 78.4 percent.
While the school did not reach the desired proficiency levels in the ELA portion of standardized testing, students did make significant growth, reaching a 74.8 percent proficiency level, according to Principal Clara Dehmer and her team.
In the math portion of the California Standards Test, staff at Mountain View had hoped to increase the number of students who are proficient or advanced from 69.8 percent to 79 percent. While they did not reach this goal, proficiency in mathematics did grow to 73.9 percent.
Last year, Mountain View established a third primary goal, targeting success rates among socio-economically disadvantaged students. In English Language Arts, the plan was to increase proficiency rates by 3.3 percent, reaching 70.2 percent. In math, the school shot for a 3.7 percent increase in math in order to reach 67.2 percent. SED students achieved the desired hike in ELA proficiency rates but missed their math goal by .7 percent.
The fact they did not meet certain proficiency goals may be partially explained by variability within particular student populations, but the teams at both school are focusing on remedies rather than excuses. Each school shared their plans to focus on areas that need improvement in the coming year, including additional support for all struggling students and a targeted approach at raising test scores among significant subgroups.
Mountain View’s estimated API growth was healthy last year, increasing from 857 to 863 in 2011 and from 862 to 881 in 2012. Official results will be released in October.
Mr. Llanusa said he was particularly impressed with the API growth at Mountain View given the current state of affairs, noting the growth was made “with fewer resources because of the terrible climate.”
The reports were a model of accountability, according to school board president Jeff Stark.
“It’s nice when you just come out and say what you need to work on,” he said.