By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore High  School continues to achieve mixed results in statewide testing. State results were released last week showing the local school continuing to struggle with mathematics.
Lemoore High School continues to achieve mixed results in statewide testing. State results were released last week showing the local school continuing to struggle with mathematics.

Not much has changed in the space of a year as to how well California’s and Lemoore’s students are performing on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests given to high school 11th grade and elementary school students.

The scores were released last week.  

In short, Lemoore 11th grade students share a statistical level in English with their California counterparts but continue to perform poorly in mathematics, a consistent problem with the local high school district. Lemoore Elementary School District students pretty much kept on par this year with the state’s students, performing a couple of percentage points lower in English and math, but remaining relatively consistent with state scores.

Search Smarter Balanced Tests results

In English, Lemoore’s 11th graders performed slightly better than the state with 49.65 percent of its students meeting or exceeding the state standard of 48.56 percent.

In math, only 21 percent of LHS students met or exceeded the state standards. Nearly 49 percent of the state’s 11th graders met or exceeded the math standards, far outdistancing Lemoore’s results. Only 6.4 percent of Lemoore’s 11th graders exceeded the state standards. A whopping 55 percent of Lemoore’s kids did not meet the state’s standards.

The Lemoore Union High School District’s Middle College School, based at West Hills College Lemoore, did considerably better in both English and math. All totaled, 63.80 percent of Middle College kids met or exceeded the state standards in English. And in math, 36 percent of students met or exceeded the standards, basically equaling the state’s score.

Local schools earn mixed results as California announces statewide test results

Lemoore Elementary students met or exceeded the state’s English standards at 44 percent, while the state checked in at 48 percent. In math, Lemoore met or exceeded the state’s math standards by 34 percent compared to the state’s 38 percent.

This is the third year of the computer-based tests, which California and Lemoore students take every spring. According to state officials, the tests are designed to ask students to “write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and the 21st Century careers.

Local schools earn mixed results as California announces statewide test results

Based on the results, California’s 3.2 million students, including the state’s and Lemoore’s kids – didn’t improve much over the course of a year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said last week that the 2017 state scores in English language arts and mathematics “remained steady and retained the strong gains students made in 2016.”

Translation: The state’s students didn’t improve much, if at all.

“I’m pleased we retained our gains, but we have much more work to do,” he said. “We need to work diligently to narrow achievement gaps and make sure all students continue to make progress.” He reminded the public that these set of tests are far different from previous statewide testing. They are much more rigorous and realistic than the previous paper and pencil tests.”

Many students took the rigorous tests in May. The Smarter Balanced tests consist of two parts: a computer adaptive assessment and a performance task. The computer assessment, say state officials, gives a more accurate picture of progress than paper-and-pencil and multiple-choice tests. The performance task challenges students’ abilities to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting.

Scores on the test fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. Parents can also get individual student test scores.

“In ELA (English Language Arts) Lemoore High was pretty much on par with the state,” said Lemoore Union High School Associate Superintendent Victor Rosa. “And Lemoore Middle College High School outperformed the state averages significantly,” he added.

Rosa admits that the district has work to do to improve math scores, a consistent source of irritation for school officials over the years. “Math is another matter … Lemoore Union High School District and most of the central valley for that matter, has traditionally not fared well in math. This last year’s scores were particularly low for the Lemoore Union High School District,” he said.

Despite additional funding and an emphasis on mathematics the past few years, Lemoore’s scores have not improved much.

“We have taken action to invest in new curriculum and training … for all math teachers at all three sites,” reported Rosa. The Lemoore district consists of three schools: Lemoore High, Alternative Education, and Lemoore Middle College High School.

“This was a major financial investment into our students and staff that we are very proud to have made,” said Rosa. “This new curriculum is being implemented this year, and we are confident the new textbook and materials will help with our scores and overall student performance in mathematics significantly.” Also, Lemoore Union High School District has implemented a new testing software that allows teachers to develop exams that mirror the format of the CAASPP.

Rosa said it's hoped that students will be more familiar and confident when using the online testing format that the state now requires. “We believe these two measures will have a great impact on our district’s overall performance on standardized tests.”

 In Kings County, Hanford High School did better than Lemoore High in math and English. Nearly 66 percent of Hanford 11th graders met or exceeded the English standards while in math, Hanford students performed poorly with 43 percent of its students failing to meet minimum standards, compared to Lemoore’s 54.98 percent.