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Our District Fares Better Than Peers In Statewide Test Scores

Story By Melanie C. Johnson, DiamondBarPatch

CLICK HERE to see district test results.

Walnut Unified School District students continue to outpace their peers statewide when it comes to proficiency in English-language arts, mathematics and other subjects tested, according to data released Monday morning.

The California Department of Education released the results of the 2011 Standardized Testing and Reporting Program exams.  The tests measure the students’ proficiency in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science.

Students statewide continue to make steady improvement in all subjects, with a greater proportion than ever scoring at proficient or higher, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Of the approximately 4.7 million students who took the exams statewide, 54 percent scored at proficient or above in English-language arts and 50 percent proficient or above in mathematics. That marks the highest percentage since the program launched in 2003, according to a news release.

Nearly 80 percent of Walnut Valley students scored at proficient or above in English-language arts.  The percentage of students scoring at proficient or better for mathematics was around 82 percent. That marks a slight increase from 2010, when 77.7 percent and 81.5 percent respectively scored at proficient or above.

Of the students who took the science exam, 80 percent scored at proficient or above.  For history 81 percent scored at proficient or above, according to the data.

Superintendent Dean Conklin said that the data released is just one measure of the hard work students, teachers, support staff and parents put in every day.

“This is an exemplary school district,” Conklin said.  “The teachers come to school every day excited about teaching.  Our kids come to school ever day open to learning."

The district does not live or die by test scores alone, Conklin said, adding that extracurricular activities, clubs, and the arts also are needed to make sure a student is well rounded.

“We’re very interested in well-rounded students,” he said.  “We’re very interested in preparing students to be the leaders of the world and we’re proud of their accomplishments.”

Torlakson said that students statewide have made steady progress because of teamwork.

“The significant and sustained improvements we’ve seen for nine consecutive years prove how hard teachers, school employees, administrators, and parents are working to help students achieve despite budget cuts that have affected our schools,” Torlakson said in a statement. “Their heroic teamwork is paying off for California.”

Torlakson also noted that the STAR results show more students both taking and scoring at proficient or above in key science and mathematics courses.

Around 55 percent of students who took the Summative High School Mathematics exam scored proficient of above, as did 49 percent of those who took the biology exam.

Of the Walnut Valley Unified students who took the Summative Mathematics exam, 80 percent scored proficient or above, as did 73 percent of those who took the biology test.

“California had 44,000 more students proficient in its most demanding mathematics test and 147,000 more students testing proficient in biology than just eight years ago,” Torlakson said.