A news release yesterday by the San Mateo County Office of Education reports that 2013 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test scores have dropped in public schools both countywide and statewide for the first time in nine years.
The slight but consistent dip comes as California schools prepare for next year’s transition to the Common Core State standards.
San Mateo County students showed a slight improvement in history scores while the percentage of students scoring at the advanced or proficient level in English Language Arts and mathematics scores remained relatively flat reflecting decreases of 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. Science scores dipped slightly.
“Schools in San Mateo County, as throughout the state, are in a transitional period as they make the shift to the Common Core State Standards and prepare for a new generation of assessments,” stated Dr. Gary Waddell, Deputy Superintendent of Schools.
“While transitional times are difficult and sometimes come with what is commonly referred to as an “implementation dip,” the shift to more rigorous, internationally-benchmarked standards that address students’ readiness for college and career is a good thing for our students.”
The report says San Mateo County students continue to achieve at levels well above the state averages. For example, 65 percent of local students scored at the advanced or proficient level in English Language Arts compared to 56 percent of students statewide. Likewise, 59.4 percent of San Mateo County students scored proficient or higher in mathematics, nearly 8 percent points higher than the state average of 51.2 percent.
Nonetheless, educational leaders continue to focus on closing the achievement gap, a challenge that persists. “Seeing all students succeed, including students of color, English Learners, students with disabilities, and those living in poverty remains a top concern,” said Waddell.
“Creating rich and rigorous learning environments that equip all students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school and their lives beyond, continues to be our most important work.”