Education

Mountain Area schools fall behind in math, English

Students at several schools in the Mountain Area are falling behind state standards in math and English, according to testing results released last week.
Students at several schools in the Mountain Area are falling behind state standards in math and English, according to testing results released last week. Submitted photo

Students in Mountain Area school districts are underperforming in math and English with mostly “low” grades across the board, according to results released last week from a new state testing and assessment.

The new “California School Dashboard” used data from tests in spring of 2016, and compared them with 2015 results. Scores from 3-8 grade are then put on a five-point scale ranging from very high to very low, depending on how well they improved or declined from state standards from the previous year.

Out of all schools in Eastern Madera County, only Rivergold Elementary in Coarsegold achieved a medium ranking in both English and math. Wasuma Elementary received a medium grade in math, but a low score in English. All other schools received a low rank in both subjects.

At the district level, Yosemite Unified School District was the best performer in the mountains in English, with a score of -10.9 points (meaning 10.9 points behind state standards), compared to -36.5 for Chawanakee Unified, and -20.9 for Bass Lake Joint Union.

In math, BLJUSD was best, with a score of -29, compared to -48.7 for Chawanakee Unified, and -30.7 for YUSD.

YUSD includes Rivergold and Coarsegold elementary schools, and Yosemite High School. BLJUSD includes Oakhurst and Wasuma elementary schools, Oak Creek Intermediate, and Fresno Flats Day School. CUSD includes North Fork and Spring Valley elementary schools, Minarets and Mountain Oaks high schools, Manzanita Community Day School, and Chawanakee Academy Charter.

For comparison, at the upper end in the Central Valley was Clovis Unified at +32.6 in English and +11.7 in math.

Fresno Unified was -51.1 in English and -73.4 in math, with Madera Unified at -54.1 in English and -80.3 in math.

Glenn Reid, superintendent of BLJUSD, said the Dashboard system will take time to become more accurate.

“This is the first time out with the Dashboard,” Reid said. “There have been more than a few versions already, and I am sure that the modifications will continue. It will become a very useful tool - but there will need to be a lot of background knowledge built up for the public and the staff before it truly becomes meaningful.”

Reid added the district is always looking to improve student achievement levels. Along those lines, it has implemented a new mathematics program, Reid said, and is in the process of adopting new standards for reading.

“Remember, the achievement scores (on Dashboard) are derived from a test that has been given exactly twice,” Reid added. “These tests are different than any tests we have given in the past. Students will get better at taking them and teachers will be getting better at administering them as time passes.”

The state’s testing programs will continue in May, when the 2017 exams will be administered. Results will be announced in August. It will also include testing data at the high school level, which was unavailable in the initial rollout.

Beyond English and mathematics scores, Dashboard - which replaced the 14-year-old Academic Performance Index in 2014 - also measures suspension rates, graduation rates, and other statistics. It places campus rankings in a color-coded system, meant to demonstrate whether a school has improved or declined from previous years, and is intended to provide easy access for parents, students, and staff. It can be seen at www.caschooldashboard.org.

Results

English

Medium

Rivergold Elementary (+1)

Low

Raymond-Knowles Elementary (-6.1)

Wasuma Elementary (-6.7)

Chawanakee Academy Charter (-9.6)

Oakhurst Elementary (-22.6)

Coarsegold Elementary (-23.6)

Spring Valley Elementary (-24.9)

Oak Creek Intermediate (-35)

North Fork Elementary (-46.5)

Math

Medium

Wasuma Elementary (-15.9)

Rivergold Elementary (-22.3)

Low

Oakhurst Elementary (-30.4)

Raymond-Knowles Elementary (-32.6)

Coarsegold Elementary (-39.2)

Oak Creek Intermediate (-42.5)

Spring Valley Elementary (-46.3)

North Fork Elementary (-49.5)

Chawanakee Academy Charter (-51.5)

Editor’s note: One school, Raymond-Knowles Elementary, was not originally included in this list. It has been added. We regret the error and any confusion this may have caused.

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