Don’t blame stu­dents for low scores

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

When it comes to ed­u­cat­ing the Val­ley’s chil­dren, most school ad­min­is­tra­tors take their jobs very se­ri­ously. After all, they are re­spon­si­ble for teach­ing the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions every­thing from read­ing and math to sci­ence and his­tory.

A child’s suc­cess in high school and col­lege is of­ten­times mea­sured by their ed­u­ca­tional foun­da­tion in the early years.

The test scores which mea­sure stu­dents’ per­for­mance in school, how­ever, were not very good for An­te­lope Val­ley stu­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished in the Thurs­day edi­tion of the An­te­lope Val­ley Press, only 35.48% of the stu­dents in the AV meet or beat statewide English and math scores, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults of the Cal­i­for­nia As­sess­ment of Stu­dent Per­for­mance and Progress sum­ma­tive as­sess­ments, re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

An es­ti­mated 44,414 Val­ley stu­dents in third through eighth and 11th grades took the com­puter-based English lan­guage arts/lit­er­acy and math as­sess­ments last spring.

The statewide av­er­age for stu

dents who met or ex­ceeded the stan­dard is 50.87%.

Of course, some dis­tricts did better than oth­ers. For ex­am­ple, 53.53% of the Ac­ton-Agua Dulce Uni­fied School Dis­trict’s stu­dents met or ex­ceeded the English lan­guage arts/lit­er­acy stan­dard. How­ever, the per­cent­age was lower in math, with 36.42% meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing the stan­dard.

SOAR High School also did well, with 92% of last year’s ju­niors meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing the stan­dard for English lan­guage arts/lit­er­acy and 67% of ju­niors meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing the stan­dards for math.

iLEAD Lan­caster Char­ter School, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. Only 21.95% of third through eighth graders met or ex­ceeded the stan­dards in English lan­guage arts/lit­er­acy, while the per­cent­age for math was even lower — 11.29%.

As ex­pected, some schools did better than oth­ers, but what does it all mean? For starters, it means that stu­dents aren’t able to ap­ply what they’ve learned in the class­room to prob­lems in a real-world set­ting. The as­sess­ment is used to mea­sure the depth of un­der­stand­ing, writ­ing, re­search and prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

There are many rea­sons chil­dren aren’t ab­sorb­ing what’s taught in the class­room, but there are other fac­tors be­yond their con­trol, that can con­trib­ute to this is­sue, for ex­am­ple, be­hav­ioral or learn­ing prob­lems, not enough in­di­vid­u­al­ized help in the class­room, etc.

School ad­min­is­tra­tors in those dis­tricts that scored low should be con­cerned. The re­sults in­di­cate that their stu­dents aren’t suf­fi­ciently be­ing pre­pared for the fu­ture.

The test scores are also a prime ex­am­ple of why School Board mem­bers should be more con­cerned with what’s go­ing on in the class­room and how their de­ci­sions are af­fect­ing their stu­dents. Spend­ing dis­trict money on cell phones, web­sites and other un­nec­es­sary goods and ser­vices should take a back­seat to mak­ing sure chil­dren have the tools they need to suc­ceed. That could mean books, teach­ing ma­te­ri­als and even ad­di­tional per­son­nel.

But the job of ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents doesn’t fall solely on the school sys­tem. Par­ents also need to take an ac­tive role in mak­ing sure their chil­dren un­der­stand what they’re be­ing taught in the class­room.

Sit­ting down with a child after school and go­ing over home­work or even ask­ing what they learned in school that day can go a long way to­ward nur­tur­ing a good at­ti­tude and help­ing them com­pre­hend some­thing they maybe didn’t un­der­stand.

The teacher/stu­dent ra­tio is much higher than a par­ent/child ra­tio, so it makes sense that chil­dren would ben­e­fit from a par­ent help­ing them along their ed­u­ca­tional jour­ney.

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