Los Altos Students Improve in STAR Scores

Individual test results should arrive this week, which will be used to calculate the API scores to be released in October. If you have questions about these tests, let us know and we'll ask the district.


In what’s become something of an annual ritual, the state school chief on Friday praised California’s public school students for doing better on its standardized tests than the year before, lamented the achievement gap that leaves black and Latino students scoring worse than their white and Asian peers, and warned that budget cuts imperil future progress. 

And in Los Altos, where individual test scores from the STAR prorgram are landing in mailboxes this week, students continue to do well, particularly at the elementary level. 

"In less than a decade, California has gone from having only one student in three score proficient to better than one student in two," said Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Schools. "As pleased as I am by the great progress many students are making, the deep school budget cuts of recent years make it ever less likely these gains will continue.

The results released Friday marked the ninth straight year that student performance improved on standardized tests in math and language arts.  

According to the state Department of Education's press release, approximately 4.7 million students participated in the 2012 STAR program, with 57 percent scoring proficient or above in English-language arts and 51 percent scoring at proficient or above in mathematics, the highest percentage since the tests were fully aligned in 2003 to California’s content standards, which describe what students should know for each grade and subject tested.

In Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, students continued to improve in their year-over-year STAR scores, which will become part of the complex calculation known well to realtors and homebuyers alike—the API and AYP scores.  

In the K-8 , the majority of students (93 percent) scored at or above proficient in English-Language Arts, improving a percentage point from last year. The Santa Clara County average was 68 percent, and the state was 57 percent.

Alyssa Gallagher, LASD Superintendent of Instruction, said that they were particularly pleased with students' improvement in the writing component of the English Language Arts tests given to Grades 4 and 7. Ninety-seven percent of 4th-graders and 99 percent of 7th graders scored proficient or above. That's compared to five years ago, where they scored 79 percent and 91 percent, respectively. 

Also in Los Altos, part of the , had a 92 percent score of proficient or above, and scored 99 percent. Cupertino Middle School, to which Montclaire students continue, had 88.4 percent.

In math, 93 percent of LASD students scored at or above the proficient level. The Santa Clara County average was 73 percent and the state was 63 percent. Montclaire students scored 93 percent and Bullis students scored 96.8 percent. Cupertino Middle School students scored 80.9 percent. 

At the high school level, in the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) students scored 77 percent in English Language Arts, and 52 percent in math.

Below are some of the scores for LASD K-8 and Cupertino K-8 students. See the PDFs above for more in-depth scores. Go to the California Department of Education's website where you can search for results for individual schools. See the California Department of Education's description of the STAR series of tests students take.

Patch will include high school scores later this week. 

What do you want to know from the districts about the STAR test results? Let us know in the comments and we'll ask.


Los Altos School District  

English Language Arts (Grades K-8) Value Students with Scores  3,429 % Proficient or Advanced  93.6% 

Mathematics (Grades 2-7 and end of course)

Value Students with Scores  3,431 % Proficient or Advanced  90.4% 

Montclaire Elementary School

English Language Arts (Grades K-5) Value  Students with Scores  348 % Proficient or Advanced  92% Mathematics (Grades 2-5 and end of course) Value Students with Scores  348 % Proficient or Advanced  93.1% 


Cupertino Middle School

English-Language Arts (Grades 6-8)


    Students with Scores  1,215      %  Proficient or Advanced  88.4 % 


Mathematics (Grades 2-7 and end of course) Value Students with Scores  1,235 % Proficient of Advanced  80.9% 


Bullis Charter School

English Language Arts (Grades 2-8)  Value  Students with Scores   341 % Proficient or Advanced  99.1%  Mathematics (Grades 2-7 and end of course)  Value  Students with Scores  340 % Proficient or Advanced  96.8% 

—Other Patch staff contributed to this report

wrathofnewman September 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It's interesting to me that even with all the snide commentary about the quirky Bullis Charter School curriculum, this school has consistently scored better than ALL schools in the LASD. I know these tests only paint part of the picture, but this is not a small detail that should go unnoticed. Maybe we should stop the bickering and see if we can share some ideas on how to improve education for ALL our kids.
Elli Sandis September 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I think the test scores show that education is being improved for ALL of our students. Congratulations to our exceptional community of students, teachers, administrators, and supportive and caring parents! Keep up the great work!
Bill September 05, 2012 at 05:55 PM
@wrath, you can't be serious. Shall I in turn make the argument that Bullis (or any school) is not adequately challenging their students because of the high scores? Or should one make the argument that BCS "drill and kills" students for the STAR tests? Give me a break. The only thing quirky is your comment.
L.A. Chung (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 05:57 PM
There are a number of details that did not get included in this report. While making the tables, I knew it would not be apples to apples. One thing that Los Altos Patch did not do, (and certainly curious readers can look at the state link ) is to look at the scores, school by school. For example, what you have here is one school with a K-8 program, Bullis Charter School, with 341 students taking the English Language Arts test, and an entire district of nine schools and 3,429 students taking the ELA test. Patch did not make tables for each school. Then you can look at the data by ethnic demographics. The county Office of Education observed that there had been some improvements in lessening the achievement gap between Hispanic and Asian/white students county-wide but Patch did not publish and analyze those numbers in Los Altos/LAH. At some point, Patch will try to do that, but we still have another article to report on the high school level, which has also reported modest gains.
camilla mccrea September 06, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Hi Ms. Chung, Thanks for the Star reporting. I do have a big question mark concerning the Math Scores out of the Mountin View-Los Altos High School District. When comparing "advanced + proficient" scores of both the Los Altos High School and Mountain View HS to Palo Alto's Gunn and Palo Alto High, both our schools are REMARKABLY lower than the 2 Palo Alto high Schools, and MVHS is lower than LA. WHY? Then I took time to look historically at all the math test scores for LA HS (sorry, didn't have time to do the same for MVHS) for entering 9th graders, and as low as they are today, the data shows a steady improvement since 2008. I think there is a story here. Would you be able to find out more? Thank you!
Ron Haley September 07, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Top 100 schools santa clara county, math http://projects.latimes.com/schools/custom-ranking/county/santa-clara/statistic/cst-scores-math/order/highest/
Ron Haley September 07, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Top 100 schools santa clara county, English http://projects.latimes.com/schools/custom-ranking/county/santa-clara/statistic/cst-scores-english/order/highest/
Ron Haley September 07, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Take a look at the Rocketship charter at #26 - it's 93% Hispanic, 89% free school lunches (ie. poor) and outperformed 6 of the 9 LASD schools and MVLA high Schools.
Ron Haley September 07, 2012 at 01:10 AM
And the BCS scores are K-8. If you factored Blach and Egan scores back into the K-6 LASD schools, their test scores would drop even further. Also, BCS takes bright children and advances them to higher grades in math. They take the Star Test in the higher grade.
Joan J. Strong September 07, 2012 at 04:35 AM
And that Rocketship 0.3% English Language Learners. Amazing how they pulled that off. I wonder how they managed to find--and isolate--a population like that. That must have been pretty hard to do and *also* keep the authorities at bay. Also, they outperformed them on a single metric, certainly not overall...
Ron Haley September 07, 2012 at 05:00 PM
JJS, The Rocket ship tested students were 55.3% english learners. Check the data here; http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/ViewReport.aspx?ps=true&lstTestYear=2012&lstTestType=C&lstCounty=43&lstDistrict=10439-0850&lstSchool=0113704&lstGroup=4&lstSubGroup=160
Heather Rose September 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM
The higher score for BCS is primarily due to a lower number of special needs students. If BCS had the same percentage of special needs students as its LASD counterparts, the overall scores for BCS would fall in the middle of the LASD schools. They are all great schools doing very well for all our kids.


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