Denair Students Continue to Progress on State Tests

Students continue to make improvements in English and math, but too many still are performing below state standards, Superintendent Terry Metzger told the Denair Unified School District board Thursday night.

Trustees have expressed concern with results from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, known as CAASPP. Students in grades three through eight as well as high school juniors take a battery of tests each spring over six or seven days. Their results are then revealed – individually, by grade level and by school district.

The performance in grades three through eight also are used to indicate a district’s academic status on California School Dashboard, intended to be a quick way for parents and others to measure progress.

“It’s high profile and high stakes, but often misinterpreted,” Metzger told trustees.

Denair students have lagged state-set benchmarks for many years in English and math. That’s still the case, but Metzger said there is a silver lining in the latest numbers based on tests taken last spring.

“In English, we made a five-point improvement in our ‘distance from standard’ and in math we made a 15-point improvement,” she said. “The board specifically asked to hear about math at the middle school and they made a 33-point gain.”

She said much more analysis is needed, but that the results suggest the new math curriculum introduced last year is having a positive effect. The district also continues to work with the Stanislaus County Office of Education to provide focused training for teachers to help them raise student performance.

“The increases are small, but they’re important,” Metzger said. “We still need to get dashboard status from ‘low’ to next level up.”

In other action Thursday, trustees:

  • Heard a report from FFA students about their experiences at last month’s Stanislaus County Fair.
  • Approved an agreement with the Foothill Horizons Outdoor Education Program, which hosts a weeklong camp for sixth-graders each year.
  • Voted in favor of a Safety Patrol Club at Denair Middle School, which will meet weekly during lunch to “further in the interest and knowledge of school safety and road safety.”
  • Heard positive reports from each campus’ principals about the resumption of school on Wednesday.
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