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Sonoma County students continue gains in STAR test scores

  • Miwok Valley School fifth grade teacher Heidi Doughty works with new students creating a to scale map of the United States on Friday, August 31, 2012. Fifth graders at the Petaluma school dramatically improved their STAR test scores last year.

Sonoma County students continue to score higher than their peers across the state in English language arts and math, though the gaps are narrowing, according to the latest round of academic scores released by the California Department of Education Friday.

Sixty-one percent of Sonoma County students scored proficient or advanced on the English language arts portion of the Standardized Testing and Reporting program exams taken last spring. In math, 52 percent of students reached the goal of scoring proficient or advanced — down a percentage point from last year.

Statewide, those percentages were 57 and 51 percent, respectively.

Although the results mean that barely half of all students are competent in math, educators still found reason to be encouraged.

"In less than a decade, California has gone from having only one student in three score proficient to better than one student in two," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a prepared statement.

Approximately 4.7 million second-through-11th graders across California took the STAR test last spring, including 53,000 in Sonoma County.

Over a 10-year span, Sonoma County students posted a 17-percentage point gain in English language arts and a 12-point increase in math.

"When you look at the 10-year profile we are moving forward, we are trending upward," said Steve Herrington, superintendent of Sonoma County Office of Education.

Despite modest improvement overall, a number of schools in Sonoma County posted sharp gains at particular grade levels and subjects.

Second graders at Sunridge Charter School in Sebastopol went from 28 percent proficient or advanced in 2011 to 96 percent in math. In English language arts, the second grade went from 16 percent to 72 percent proficient or advanced in a year.


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