From the New Haven Unified School District:
Efforts to close the “achievement gap” are succeeding in the New Haven Unified School District according to results released by the California Department of Education from the 2011-12 CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) and STAR (Standardized Testing and Results) tests.
The achievement gap, for several years one of the most vexing problems in public education, is the difference in test results between high-performing students (typically Asian and white sub-groups) and lower-performing students (typically Hispanic/Latino and African-American sub-groups). The gap generally is evident in scores from the CAHSEE tests, which students begin taking as high school sophomores and must pass to earn a diploma, and in the STAR results, which measure academic progress from Grades 2 through 11.
In New Haven, 89 percent of African-American students passed the English/Language Arts portion of on their first attempt, according to results released by the state Department of Education last week. That’s up from 74 percent in 2010-11 and, more significant, identical to the District-wide percentage of students who passed on their first attempt. In addition, 84 percent of African-American students passed the mathematics portion on their first attempt, up from 66 percent last year and just four percentage points shy of the District-wide passing rate.
Among Hispanic/Latino students, meanwhile, 82 percent passed the English/Language Arts portion on their first attempt, up from 78 percent last year and within six points of the District-wide passing rate. The percentage of Hispanic/Latino students passing the math portion slipped, however, from 81 to 77 percent.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been very intentional in our efforts to address the achievement gap,” New Haven Superintendent Kari McVeigh said. “Our Equity Task Force has been working for three years now to make the District a more equitable place for all, and two years ago we began a concerted effort to open enrollment in advanced placement classes to groups that have been traditionally under-represented in AP.
“We still have a long way to go to close the achievement gap, obviously, but we certainly are seeing progress.”
The gap also is closing – albeit it not as dramatically – , the predominant part of the STAR program. Those results were released today.
In Grade 5, for example, 72 percent of African-American students scored at or above standards in science, matching the District-wide percentage, and 66 percent scored at or above standards in English/Language Arts, just one percentage point short of the District percentage. And the percentage of African-American fifth-graders scoring at or above standards in math improved from 48 to 59 percent, within seven points of the District-wide percentage.
District-wide, across all grade levels, the percentage of students scoring at or above standards in English/language arts increased to 56 percent, up from 55 percent in 2010-11.
“Our English/Language Arts scores have increased year after year, maybe not by leaps and bounds, but steadily and consistently, which confirms that we’re doing the right work,” Superintendent McVeigh said.
The percentage of students scoring at or above standards in math decreased from 46 percent to 44 percent. Superintendent McVeigh noted that the District already has begun to addressing the issue, by increasing the level of professional development for teachers in math.
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Arlando Smith noted that New Haven’s STAR scores have remained consistent despite the fact that state budget cuts have forced the District to increase class sizes and decrease the length of the instructional year.
“Teachers administrators, parents and the entire NHUSD community, in the face of adverse circumstances, have stayed the course,” he said. “They have maintained a continuing focus on student achievement and developing as professionals in spite of the odds confronting the District.”
Other District highlights from Friday’s release of STAR scores:
- At Emanuele Elementary, the percentage of fifth-graders scoring at or above standards in math jumped by double digits for the second consecutive year, from 49 percent in 2008-0, to 65 percent in 2009-10, to 84 percent in 2010-11.
- At Alvarado Elementary, the percentage of second-grade students scoring at or above standards in English/Language Arts also increased significantly for the second consecutive year, from 49 percent in 2008-09, to 57 percent in 2009-10, to 65 percent in 2010-11.
- At Kitayama, Pioneer and Eastin elementaries, there also were examples of steady progress in English/Language Arts. Kitayama fourth-graders scoring at or above standards rose from 72 percent in 2008-09, to 76 percent in 2009-10, to 79 percent in 2010-11. Pioneer fifth-graders improved from 66 percent in 2008-09 to 72 percent in 2009-10 to 73 percent in 2010-11, and Eastin fifth-graders improved from 79 percent in 2008-09, to 80 percent in 2009-10, to 82 percent in 2010-11.
- At Searles Elementary, the percentage of second-graders scoring at or above standards in math jumped 13 points, from 58 percent in 2009-10 to 71 percent in 2010-11. And at Hillview Crest Elementary, the percentage of fifth-graders scoring at or above standards in English/Language arts jumped 12 points, from 40 to 62 percent.
- At Alvarado Middle School, the percentage of sixth-graders scoring at or above standards in English/Language Arts jumped 12 points, from 58 to 70 percent. At Cesar Chavez Middle School, the percentage of seventh-graders scoring at or above standards in English/Language Arts increased from 48 to 51 percent.
- At James Logan High, 90 percent of physics students scored at or above grade level, up from 75 percent last year.