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Student test scores rise but achievement gaps remain

Test scores for California’s public school students continue to rise in most grades and subjects, according to results released today by the California Department of Education.

Yet the gap has not narrowed between African-American, Latino and poor students and their white or affluent peers has not narrowed.

“We know all children can learn to the same high levels, so we must confront and change those things that are holding back groups of students,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said in a press release.

In the spring, 4.8 million California students in second through 11th grades took the Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, tests on subjects including English, math, science and social studies.

In a study of the northern San Joaquin Valley’s third-grade test results since 2003, The Bee found:

  • Third-graders in Stanislaus, Merced, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties increased by 17 percentage points the number of students considered “proficient” in math, outpacing state gains. Calaveras students matched the 12-point statewide increase from 2003 to 2007.
  • Tuolumne and Merced counties posted the largest improvement of students passing English tests since 2003 — 8 and 9 percentage points, respectively.
  • Parents should receive their student’s test scores, along with a category ranking in each subject, by mid-September.

    Results show five levels of proficiency: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. The goal is for every student to reach proficient or above.

    To find your school’s scores — or for district, county or state numbers — go to

    For the complete story, read Thursday’s Bee or