Annual Test Scores Rise in L.A. Unified Schools

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2010

Despite thousands of teacher layoffs and shrinking school budgets, Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest school system, posted gains on annual standardized tests. Schools statewide also posted overall gains in results released Monday.

The rising scores brought generally good news concerning various reform efforts underway in L.A. Unified, including at Locke High School and at 12 schools overseen by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Schools still under direct district control also showed gains, some of them larger than the higher-profile efforts touted as superior to what the district could accomplish.

As in past years, the local and statewide gains are incremental. For the most part, low-performing schools are still low-performing and vast achievement gaps remain between low-income black and Latino students and their white and Asian counterparts. Black students are faring the worst.

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Black students in California improved their proficiency rates but remain the lowest-scoring racial group, with 32% proficient in math and 39% proficient in English.

“We have been unsuccessful in narrowing the achievement gap as much as we really have to,” said Deb Sigman, the state’s deputy superintendent of schools. “We must do a better job.”

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