Three of four San Joaquin County school districts that met state benchmarks in math and language proficiency, test participation and graduate rates lie in or around Tracy.
Lammersville, New Jerusalem and Jefferson school districts tallied results that met Annual Yearly Progress report standards, one of two accountability measures released Thursday by the California Department of Education.
In addition to the progress report, the state published results from the Academic Performance Index — known as the state’s report card — which gauges how schools stack up against state goals in math, language and science proficiency.
The state target is 800 points. Every year, the mark increases another 30 to 40 percent for a district until they meet the performance goal of 100 percent proficiency.
If a district already scores above 800, the goal is to improve by another five points the next test cycle until all students are, at least on paper, proficient in the tested subjects.
Only students in second through 11th grade are tested.
All the county districts that made the No Child Left Behind cut this year are small, rural districts.
“I wonder if there is something in the water?” New Jerusalem district Superintendent Dave Thoming rhetorically asked the day the results came out.
He attributes the achievement to the size of the districts.
“A smaller district is able to respond quickly to an individual student’s needs,” he said. “My philosophy in education is that the small schools are always going to be more effective than big schools.”
But Banta Elementary School District, which met the report’s criteria last year, fell short this cycle since the target increased.
The small district has several more years to go before the state takes punitive measures against it.
For Tracy Unified School District, this marks the fourth year it landed on the program improvement roster — a sort of federal watch list designed to pressure districts to bring scores up to par.
When a school or district gets slapped with the program improvement label for five years, it could revert to state control. That gives TUSD another year to break from a four-year scoring shortfall.
“However, since this is new territory, we are waiting for the state to determine what the specific corrective action will be,” TUSD curriculum director Carol Anderson-Woo said.
Last year, the lack of participation from the 16,000-student district’s special-education students held back scores in language arts, which kept the district from meeting the progress report standards, Anderson-Woo said.
This year, the district surpassed participation targets. But a few subgroups fell short of proficiency goals.
Of the 15 school districts countywide, Lodi, Manteca and Stockton unified school districts are on the program improvement list. So is the San Joaquin County Office of Education.
The state considers graduation rates, how many of enrolled students participate in testing, all standardized test scores and percent of students proficient in math, English and science.
Results shape the state’s decisions about where to send money for the next school year.
Lammersville Latino, white and poor students considered socioeconomically disadvantaged far surpassed the federal minimum target of 35 percent proficiency in language arts on the performance index scale. English-language learners lagged behind that benchmark by more than 8 percent.
In math, all subgroups, including English-language learners, surpassed federal targets.
New Jerusalem White students pushed the district’s total scores over the 35 percent benchmark in English-language arts scores, while poor, minority and special-education students fell behind several points for each group.
In math, English-language learners and Latinos fared much better. Poor and disabled students missed the mark by 7 to 17 percentage points, respectively.
All but disabled and Pacific Islander students met the mark for federal English-language arts scores. The same held true for district-wide math results.
As a district, Banta surpassed English-language and math scores by barely a couple of percentage points. Broken down, only white students met the federal minimums in each category.
Poor, black and disabled students and English-language learners failed to meet the federal minimum for math scores last school year.
Black students kept pace in English-language arts, along with all other subgroups except disabled and English-language learners, who lagged in both categories.
To reach Tracy Press reporter Jennifer Wadsworth, call 830-4225 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.