District sees gains in test scores

Burbank students' improvements in English and math follow statewide trends, officials say.

August 31, 2012|By Kelly Corrigan,

The Burbank Unified School District saw significant gains in standardized test scores when results were released Friday.

The state’s Standards Testing and Reporting (STAR) program evaluates student comprehension of English, math, science and history through multiple-choice tests administered during the school year. Student scores are ranked as “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic,” “below basic” or “far below basic.”

At a Friday morning press conference in Pasadena, state Supt. Tom Torlakson reported on statewide results. Some 57% of California students tested showed they were proficient or advanced in English, while 51% scored at those levels in math, according to the report.


“Our state has gone from only having one student in three proficient to now having one in two proficient,” Torlakson said of steady improvements since 2003. “That’s nearly 900,000 more students [demonstrating proficiency].”

In Burbank Unified, where about 12,100 students were tested, there was improvement this year in English, with 68% percent of students tested achieving proficient or advanced scores compared to 65% last year.

Districtwide, 58.6% students scored proficient or better in math compared to 56% in 2011. The state average of students scoring proficient or better in math and English this year was 51% and 57% respectively.

“In general, we’re very happy with the results,” said Sharon Cuseo, director of instruction and accountability. “We expected to see some growth but not in so many areas.”

Burbank and Burroughs high schools scored similarly in English. At Burbank High, 66% scored proficient or better in English and 46% scored the same in math. At Burroughs, 67% and 34% of students scored proficient or advanced in English and math respectively.

Among elementary schools, R.L. Stevenson and Theodore Roosevelt reported some of the highest scores in math and English.

Seventy-seven percent of Stevenson’s students scored proficient or better in English and 78% scored the same in math.

At Roosevelt, 78% scored proficient or advanced in English and 77% achieved the same in math.

Among middle schools, John Muir reported some of the highest English and math scores with 74% and 68% scoring proficient or better in those respective subjects.

Cuseo said that districtwide success could be attributed to teachers’ focus on individual needs of students.

Teachers also participated in a series of workshops in the past year that dealt with student engagement in the classroom.

“I think we’re always looking at everything we do and trying to improve what we do for all students,” she said.

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