San Mateo County students scored higher than the state average on standardized testing, and Belmont area students overall bettered their own 2010 performance.
The 2011 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results showed steady improvement across the state. The results, released this week by the California Department of Education, show mean scores, but also rank student performance in categories from advanced to far below basic.
Sixty-three percent of county students ranked at a proficient or advanced level in language arts, compared to the state's 54 percent. They also trumped the statewide averages in math and science.
"This is certainly no small accomplishment, particularly given the ongoing fiscal realities facing schools and districts that have resulted in reductions in staffing and programs," Gary Waddell, deputy superintendent of instructional services for the San Mateo County Office of Education, said in a statement.
In the San Carlos Elementary District, the majority of students in the district in grades 2-11 ranked in the advanced bracket in English-language arts, with the exception of grades 3 and 6. Forty-nine percent of sixth-graders ranked as advanced. second-graders students ranked the highest, with 72 percent ranking as advanced in English and 70 percent in math.
More than 71 percent of fourth-graders were ranked as advanced in English-language arts.
Last year, 48 percent of the Carlmont High School 10th-grade class ranked at an advanced level in language arts. This year, the number leapt to 56 percent. In 2010, 67 students performed at an advanced or proficient level in science, but by this year, 73 scored as well.
Some 4.7 million students took the tests this year. California educators saw the highest scores since STAR testing began in 2003, with 54 percent scoring proficient or higher in language arts and 50 percent doing so in math.
“The significant and sustained improvement we’ve seen for nine consecutive years prove how hard teachers, school employees, administrators, and parents are working to help students achieve despite budget cuts that have affected our schools,” said state superintendent of schools Tom Torlakson in a statement.
However, Torlakson lamented the achievement gap that persists for African-American, Latino, English-learning and low-income students.
“We have more work to do to make sure every student receives the world-class education he or she deserves,” he said. Waddell said narrowing the gap remains a critical measure of the success of San Mateo County schools.
At Carlmont, 54 percent of Latino ninth-graders scored at acceptable to advanced levels in algebra and 6 percent in general math. Fifty percent of ninth-graders and 28 percent of 11th-graders did as well in language arts.