Lodi Unified School District students in the eighth and 12th grades who took geometry in 2008 made the biggest leap in the annual Standardized Testing and Reporting exams, according to results released Tuesday.
But it still wasn't enough to put the entire district closer to the state average.
Districtwide, most grades in most subjects increased scores over last year's results, except for ninth-graders in world history. Those students saw the largest drop of all, falling 16 percentage points from 2008.
"We're definitely making some improvements and are headed in the right direction," Lodi Unified Associate Superintendent Odie Douglas said.
The annual tests evaluate secondthrough 11th-graders on various subjects, including language arts and mathematics. The tests, taken last spring, rank students from "far below basic" proficiency to "advanced," and results show what percentage of students fall into those categories by class.
On average, local students' scores in both math and language arts are significantly lower than their peers across the state.
In Lodi Unified, 43 percent of students are proficient in English-language arts, compared to a statewide mark of 53 percent. But the number shows improvement over last year's results, when only 39 percent were proficient.
In math, the opposite is true. Only 39 percent are proficient, down from last year's 46 percent. The state average is 63 percent.
Douglas said the district is concerned about its math scores. "We've made some strides at the elementary level, but we need to at the high school level, as well."
This year, scores in Galt Joint Union High School District remained about the same as last year's.
Thirdand fourth-graders in the city's elementary district made great strides, raising their math scores by 14 and 13 percentage points, respectively, over last year's averages. Sixth-graders also jumped up 15 points in English.
In fact, all other grades increased their scores in both English and math, except for the seventh-graders, who fell an average of six points in both subjects.
Overall, 53 percent of the district's students are considered proficient in English-language arts, while 56 percent are proficient in math.
"Our work to improve instructional quality and organizational consistency is paying off for our children," said Galt Elementary Superintendent Karen Schauer. "I am proud of district-wide improvement trends"
The district is still weighing reasons behind the scores. This could include determining whether a new mathematics program was key in improved K-6 elementary math performance, she said.
Nearly 4.75 million students in second through 11th grade took the STAR exams last spring. Districts use the results to determine whether schools are meeting minimum requirements for each subject set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Scores from the California Standards Tests, which is part of the STAR program, are used to determine a school's Academic Performance Index, or API.
A school's API is a reflection of how well a school performed during the last school year, and results are released later in the school year.
For more information, including a school-by-school breakdown of the results, visit star.cde.ca.gov.
Direct links to local resultsLodi High School
Tokay High School
Galt High School
California launches Web site to explain state testing programTuesday's public releases of the annual STAR results coincides with California launching a new Web site to give parents and teachers a better understanding of the state's California Standards Tests.
After listening to concerns expressed by parents and teachers, the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education produced the new Web site, www.starsamplequestions.org. It features dozens of actual test questions that students have faced at every grade level.
The Web site includes information about what levels of performance the state expects of students, as well as which students take the tests. The site also offers printable grade-level parent guides.