Quality education is a priority in Carlsbad
Carlsbad Unified students get high scores again
By: TIM MAYER
(Article courtesy of North County Times, 8/02)
CARLSBAD —- Test scores released this week by state and county officials show Carlsbad Unified School District is continuing to surpass both county and statewide averages.
Results of the national Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, which was administered in the spring, show 79 percent of Carlsbad’s students scored at or above the 50th percentile in math. The 50th percentile is considered average nationwide for the test, which is also known as the SAT-9.
Seventy percent of Carlsbad students also met or exceeded the national average in reading, 75 percent in language, 70 percent in spelling, 67 percent in social science, and 63 percent in science.
While there was some fluctuation up and down in results when compared grade-to-grade and school-to-school from the 2001 test results, overall averages were virtually identical in 2002, with some small increases.
That lack of a sharp increase in overall test scores is in contrast to previous years in which Carlsbad Unified showed major gains in the SAT-9. The test, administered since 1998, is a standardized math and English exam mandatory for all second- through 11th-grade students and is designed to measure student achievement against national averages.
Carlsbad district officials said they are happy with the results.
“We are showing steady improvement throughout the district,” said Superintendent Cheryl Ernst.
Assistant Superintendent Susan-Harumi Bentley said “if you see everything pretty much the same from year to year, you know you are maintaining. We don’t have any drastic drops or drastic increases, which is good. It shows our district is stabilizing at a very high level.”
“This is showing systemic strength,” she said. “Every grade level is pulling its weight.” Carlsbad Unified scores far exceeded state as well as county averages.
Statewide, schools met or exceeded the 50th percentile norm at a rate of from the mid-30 percent range to just above 60 percent depending on grade level and test.
Countywide, schools met or topped the 50th percentile mark by 51 percent in reading, 60 percent in math, 59 percent in language, 55 percent in spelling, 47 percent in science, and 52 percent in social science.
But Carlsbad Unified officials said what is more important are the results of the new standardized state tests that are being phased in to replace the SAT-9. Unlike the SAT-9, which uses a nationwide scale, the state tests are based on what California schools are actually required to teach and what students are expected to learn.
Valley Middle School Principal Kim Marshall said “our (SAT-9) test scores are very, very strong. There are a couple of little areas where we fell a little, but that’s the SAT-9. The California state content standards tests … are the ones on which we are focusing. They are 100 percent aligned to state standards.”
In the state tests students are ranked in five categories ranging from “far below basic” to “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient” or “advanced” in each subject. Students scoring far below basic have almost no understanding of the subject. Those who are proficient or above demonstrate a complete and accurate understanding of the subject.
From 43 percent to 73 percent of Carlsbad students were rated as proficient or advanced on state test results also released this week, an increase in almost every category from 2001.
Bentley said district and school administrators and teachers over the next few weeks will be taking the results of the various tests and analyzing the information to focus on each school and each group of students —- such as English-language learners.
Results for every student will also be analyzed. Goals will be set for each student having problems and, where needed, they will be offered tutoring and other programs to help them improve.
“We are looking at students one by one,” Bentley said.
To look up more details on the API Report, check this web site: www.cde.ca.gov/psaa/api/, click “District API Reports,” then type in the district (Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Dieguito or San Marcos).
Quality education rates a high priority in Carlsbad, where students consistently score well above average on placement tests. The Carlsbad Unified School District and other neighboring districts provide schooling for grades K-12. The city is also served by private and parochial schools, including the internationally renown Army and Navy Academy, which offers an excellent college preparatory curriculum for grades 7 through 12.
A variety of education institutions are available to Carlsbad residents. California State University San Marcosis less than 10 miles away, offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with an emphasis on international development. Also nearby are two excellent community colleges, MiraCosta College in Oceanside and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Palomar College in San Marcos. Both offer vocational as well as general education courses. Also providing services in North County are National University and the University of Phoenix, with satellite campuses in Vista. Within easy commuting distance are San Diego State University, the University of California San Diego and Webster University.
For a more specialized program, there is the Gemological Institute of America, which moved its campus from Santa Monica to Carlsbad.
A well-educated community provides the job base essential to a successful business climate. As an advocate for business, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring Carlsbad students receive a high-quality education. The Chamber’sEducation Committeeprovides a forum for the business community to support local educators in preparing students for the future. The Chamber’s Partners in Education Foundation forms partnerships between Carlsbad companies and schools to improve educational opportunities. Through the foundation, businesses can enhance students’ learning experiences in a variety of ways:
- Financial support
- Apprenticeship programs
- Career counseling
- Equipment and other resource donations