Thursday, September 6, 2012
Monterey County’s public K-12 students are still performing below state averages. But County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski says there’s reason to feel good about the latest California High School Exit Exam and Standardized Testing and Reporting results.
Seventy-seven percent of the county’s 10th-graders passed the English exit exam and 79 percent passed the math exam, compared with 83 and 84 percent, respectively, statewide.
In both tests, the county’s Latino students scored 3-4 percentage points behind the statewide average for Latinos, while local white students kept pace with the state average for whites, and local black students scored 6-8 percentage points ahead of the state average for blacks.
The county’s Latino kids are closing the achievement gap with white students in both English and math, making 11 – and 7-point gains, respectively, in the past eight years. But the state has seen greater gains over that same time frame.
The STAR test, given to grades 2-11, shows improvements over the past five years in the county’s English and math results. Older kids are likewise doing better in science and social studies.
“We’re seeing steady and consistent growth in our students all the way around,” Kotowski says, “and this is all in the period of this economic crisis.”
Still, Monterey County’s kids scored below state averages in all STAR subjects. Kotowski says county demographics put the lag in context. Sixty-nine percent of local K-12 students are socio-economically disadvantaged, compared with 57 percent statewide; 37 percent are English learners, while the state average is 17 percent; and 22 percent are migrants, versus 3 percent statewide.
“You can say we’re lagging,” Kotowski says, “but look at the achievement gaps we’re closing.”