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August 21, 2007 > Seventh-graders make solid gains on tests

Seventh-graders make solid gains on tests

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

Seventh-graders in English/language arts made the biggest improvement of New Haven Unified School District during the 2006-07 school year according to preliminary STAR (Standardized Testing and Results) scores made public today.

Fifth-grade scores improved across the board in English/language arts, math and science; eighth-grade science scores and 11th-grade English/language arts and history/social science scores were also among those that improved.

"Overall, results were mixed," said Craig Boyan, Director of Assessment and Evaluation, noting that scores declined in some areas, including eighth-grade English/language arts, Algebra II and world history.

"We continue to see pockets of excellence throughout our District, and our teachers are working together and with support staff to identify best practices and replicate them in all of our classrooms," Superintendent Dr. Pat Jaurequi said. "What we have now is an accurate baseline to identify progress as we begin to implement strategies such as focusing on literacy and giving our teachers more time to consult with one another in our Professional Learning Communities."

"This year, we are adjusting school schedules to make sure students are in class at peak learning times," Dr. Jaurequi continued. "We are improving student-teacher ratios and increasing instructional minutes in key subjects at the middle schools, and we're introducing all-day and mid-year kindergarten programs."

"These are the kinds of initiatives that we need to meet the goal that the community has set for us, to reach 85 percent proficiency by the end of the 2010-11 school year."

Approximately 10,000 New Haven students took the STAR tests during April and May of 2007. Students took two types of tests: the California Standards Tests (CSTs), which measure progress based on state curriculum content standards that are among the highest in the United States, and the CAT/6 tests, which compare achievement in Grades 3 and 7 to students throughout the country.

In the CST English/language arts test, 53 percent of New Haven seventh-graders scored at or above standards, up seven points from 2005-06. Fifth-graders improved by four points in science and two points in both English/language arts and math, and eighth-graders improved by three points in science. In 11th grade, scores went up three points in English/language arts and four points in history/social science.

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