SANTA MONICA—The Standardized Testing and Reporting results of California students for the 2010 and 2011 school year, released by the California Department of Education on August 17, shows a steady positive increase for schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The STAR results specifically reflect “academic achievement in English language arts, math, science and history,” according to an SMMUSD press release.

Students are classified into five categories under the STAR results for academic performance: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. According to the release, arranged by Dr. Maureen Bradford, “The spring 2010 test results for Santa Monica-Malibu paint a picture of continued, steady gains in the percentage of students who score at the proficient or advanced levels on the California Standards Tests.” More specifically, between 2009 and 2010, students in grades 2 through 11 showed a 1 percent increase in English language arts proficiency and a 3 percent increase in mathematics. Students in grades 8 and 11 showed a 1 percent increase in history and a 6 percent increase in science, while students in grades 5, 8 and 10 tested in science showed a 1 percent increase. The performance increases in the SMMUSD also reflect proficiency increases in Los Angeles County and the State of California

“The gains over 2009 are part of a longitudinal pattern of steady and continuous improvement over time,” said Tim Cuneo, SMMUSD Superintendent. “This multi-year upward trend is reflective of the high caliber of our teachers and their on-going efforts to improve instructional practice.” The SMMUSD has shown increases in proficient or advanced results since 2002 across all four categories.

Dr. Bradford commented that there are particular “bright spots in the 2010 data,” highlighting the increased performance of several schools within the SMMUSD. Malibu High School showed a 5 percent increase in math proficiency and a 4 percent increase in English language arts. “Our teachers are continuing to strengthen their focus on teaching the standards and making sure that content is appropriately covered,” said Dr. Mark Kelly, principal of Malibu High School.

As for advanced proficiency, the STAR results show a near 4 percent district-wide increase in math and science advanced proficiency and a near 3 percent increase in English language arts advanced proficiency. Students at Lincoln Middle School showed a 6 percent increase in English language arts. Webster Elementary showed that 75 percent of students performed at the advanced level in mathematics, while 69 percent performed similarly in English language arts. Will Rogers, a science, technology, engineering and math specialized school, showed 29 percent increase in advanced science proficiency.

According to the release from Dr. Bradford, along with the Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress, the California Standards Test results “assist principals, leadership teams and school site councils as they craft measurable goals and actions plans for the current school year.”