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BHUSD Test Results Start Up—Finally

Beverly Hills Unified School District has reason to feel a littler better. California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) scores were released Aug. 18 and reveal improvements for all grade levels.  

“The STAR test is our report card,” said Brian Tash, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the District. “We are held accountable to the community and the State. And since we are a standards-based system, we are expected to teach kids the curriculum that is approved by the State.”

The STAR tests, administered to all students, kindergarten through 11th grade, assess student learning and comprehension in all areas of study. Administered in May of this year, the STAR test looks to classify students learning from basic to advanced. It is given yearly.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made and congratulate the teachers, District staff and students who have all played a role in these improved scores,” said BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Jerry Gross. “We will review grade level score profiles to determine areas to focus on during the coming school year. Our District’s CST scores are a testament to the excellence of Beverly Hills schools.”

“Beverly Hills High worked very hard last year making students aware of the importance of the test, making sure students improved,” said Tash. “It was a school-wide effort and the students truly, truly did excellent. There were across-the-board gains.”

Within the world history category, BHHS students saw a huge leap with a 23-point gain over 2008 scores.

Mathematics also saw great gains for the school. Geometry assessments found 52 percent of students testing at proficient or advanced levels, with a 12-point gain. Summative mathematics (high-level mathematics beyond Algebra II) found students testing 74 percent proficient or advanced, with a 12-point gain.

Tash attributes these increases to efforts made by the Associated Student Body (ASB) and the success of teacher intervention and curriculum alignment.

“It was a wide effort and it paid off,” he said.

11th grade students, typically lower scoring in the past, said Tash, saw a great improvement.

“11th grade students in the past might not have taken the test as seriously,” said Tash. “They have other things going on: advanced placement exams, SATs. But the data is showing the eleventh graders are truly taking the test seriously. English grew 13 percentage points.

World history grew 11 points. And biology grew 22 points.”

The elementary grades also saw successful scores.

“When you look at grades two through five, there was no backwards slide,” Tash said.

Grade two found 77 percent of students proficient or advanced in language arts. For grade three, 67 percent tested proficient or advanced, a six-point growth over last year.

Grade four improved by six-points as well, with 85 percent testing proficient or advanced.

Grade five students tested 79 percent proficient or advanced, a nine-point growth.

Middle school students were an area of concentration for the District, said Tash, especially in the mathematics arena. A heavy mathematics initiative was put in place with the intent of improving all math scores through algebra.

Grades six and seven saw some point drop – four-points for sixth grade and two points for seventh.

Grade eight, however, found 86 percent of algebra students testing at proficient or advanced levels, a seven-point growth over 2008 scores.

Eighth grade students also tested high in history and science. 86 percent tested proficient or advanced in history (a 12-point growth) and 85 percent tested proficient or advanced in science (a one-point growth).

Grade five also saw an enormous leap in the science category as well, with a 10-point growth over 2008 scores.

“The thing about this data is it really is dangerous how it can be used,” said Tash. “I don’t want to see it go down three points, but at the same time I’d be more worried if it went down 10 points… We are already a high performing District. Sometimes it is hard to maintain these numbers. We did pretty darn good. It is something to be proud of.”

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