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Percent of students who met or exceeded standards, by district:


Sonoma County (overall): 48.6

West Sonoma County Union High: 77.3

Petaluma Joint Union High: 63.8

Petaluma City Elementary: 50

Healdsburg: 48.2

Santa Rosa High: 48.1

Cotati-Rohnert Park: 45

Sonoma Valley: 42.3

Santa Rosa Elementary: 33.3


Sonoma County (overall): 36.6

Petaluma City Elementary: 49.3

Petaluma Joint Union High: 46

West Sonoma County Union High: 41.8

Healdsburg: 34.2

Santa Rosa High: 33.7

Cotati-Rohnert Park: 31.1

Santa Rosa Elementary: 26.9

Sonoma Valley: 26

To look up school districts and individual school scores, click here.

More than half the students in Sonoma County missed the mark on California’s English standardized test, and even more did poorly on math.

About two-thirds of students failed to meet or exceed the math standards, making little gains from the previous year. Their peers around the state didn’t fare much better on both tests, according to results released Wednesday.

Statewide, 3.2 million students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade this spring took the so-called California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Of them, 48.6 percent met or exceeded standards on the English language arts test, while 37.6 percent did on the math test.

In Sonoma County, 48.6 percent tested proficient in English. In math, 36.6 percent met or exceeded standards.

Results changed little compared to the previous year when 49 percent of students in the county met or exceeded English standards, and 36 percent met or exceeded on math.

State math numbers climbed slightly from last year, when 37 percent of students tested proficient. The number is higher than the 33 percent in 2015, when California first started administering the computerized tests.

“It is particularly encouraging to see progress in student math scores on these new and challenging exams,” Sonoma County schools superintendent Steven Herrington said in a statement. “At the same time, much work remains to be done to close the achievement gap and have all students performing at high levels.”

The new math test is particularly a challenge for students, who no longer get to pick multiple-choice answers, but rather have to explain how they arrived at an answer, said Jennie Snyder, SCOE’s deputy superintendent of instructional services.

“It really calls upon students to not only be able to apply procedures to solve problems, but apply their mathematical thinking,” she said. “All of those require higher-order thinking.”

State education officials released the results a month late after discovering discrepancies. The test is supposed to measure whether younger students are on track and older ones prepared for college or careers after graduation.

It bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers. If the student answer a question right, succeeding questions get harder until a wrong answer, which makes the next one easier. Test scores fall in one of four categories: “standard not met,” “standard nearly met,” “standard met” and “standard exceeded.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson applauded students for maintaining the progress made since the testing was rolled out. However, he encouraged students, teachers and parents to work harder to close the achievement gaps.

“It’s important to remember that these tests are far more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests,” Torlakson said in a statement. “We are asking more of our students, but for a good reason — so they are better prepared for the world of college and careers.”

Snyder said there’s also work to be done in the county to close the achievement gap. About 34 percent of Latinos countywide tested proficient in English standards this year, while 23 percent did in math.

The numbers were much lower for Sonoma County’s largest school district, Santa Rosa City Schools.

About 20.6 percent of Latinos in the elementary school grades tested proficient in English, compared to 32.2 at the high school level. In math, the numbers were lower at 16.6 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively.

Overall, 33.3 percent of elementary school children and 48.1 percent of high schoolers tested proficient in English. In math, 26.9 percent of elementary school students and 33.7 in high school met or exceeded standards, although some schools lagged far behind. At Steele Lane Elementary, less than 10 percent of students tested proficient in English and math.

Robert Haley, superintendent of Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified, said part of the challenge is the way the test is administered. Some children struggle using computers, particularly those without the technology at home.

“This is a very different kind of test. It’s measuring the students’ ability to navigate technology,” Haley said.

In his district, 45 percent of students tested proficient in English, while just over 31 percent met or exceeded math standards.

West Sonoma County Union High had among the highest percentages in the county. More than three-quarters of its students tested proficient in English, while just under 42 percent met or exceeded math standards.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Charbonneau credited the teachers. He said they’re often looking at test data and working with other teachers to create their student assessments to see where they need to put more emphasis in class.

“The payoff is there in our test results,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 707-521-5458 or eloisa.gonzalez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @eloisanews.

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