Local students are faring better than their counterparts statewide when it comes to passing the annual state high school exit exam.
It was given earlier this year to 10th-graders in the subjects of math and English-language arts, and is based on the California state standards which define what students should be learning each year.
Students must pass the California High School Exit Exam to graduate from high school. Those who did not pass the tests in 10th grade have at least five more opportunities to pass the exams before the end of the school year, beginning this November.
With the exception of Galt's Estrellita High School, where the testing pool is small compared to other schools, sophomores in Galt and Lodi passed the math portion at a higher rate than the state's first-time test takers.
What's this test all about?
The exam became a condition for graduation in California starting with the Class of 2006. Those who don't pass in time to graduate with their class can take remedial courses or enroll at community college and try again.
By the end of their senior year, approximately 90.6 percent, or 432,900, of California's students, in the Class of 2009 successfully passed both the English-language arts and mathematics portions of the CAHSEE.
Eighty percent of the 474,221 students who took the math portion in 10th grade last year passed, while 79 percent of the 476,768 English-language arts takers did so.
How did local schools do?
In the Lodi Unified School District - which includes all of its high schools in both Lodi and North Stockton - the passage rate for the math portion was 79 percent, while 78 percent aced the English language arts section.
Comparatively, 86 percent of Lodi High School's math students passed and 82 percent of those in English-language arts. The figures were the same in 2008.
At Tokay High School, the rate was slightly lower at 82 and 78 percent, respectively. However, students improved slightly from last year's scores; 81 percent passed math, while 75 percent passes English-language arts.
"This assessment is the 'floor' and not the 'ceiling' of our high academic expectations for every student," Associate Superintendent Odie Douglas said in regards to the minimum basic mathematics and English-language arts skills expected to do well on the examination.
"Our goal is for all students to be college and career ready upon graduating from a Lodi Unified high school."
Galt Joint Union High School District
Students in the Galt Joint Union High School District had a passage rate of 84 percent in math and 80 percent in Englishlanguage arts.
Testing coordinator Steve Gardner felt the district's results were mixed.
"While we did make a significant gain in the pass rate for 10th graders on the math test (from 83 percent in 2007-08 to 86 percent last year), we declined 1 percentage point in the pass rate for 10th graders on the English-language arts test (from 83 percent in 2007-08 to 82 percent last year)," he said.
"So we can celebrate our 3 percent improvement in math, but also feel disappointed in the 1-percent decline in the pass rate for English-language arts."
The district is currently analyzing the data to better understand the results and build upon them.
"Test results such as these are one of the tools we employ to improve classroom instruction to ensure that we are adequately preparing our students for the challenges they will face," Gardner added.
Galt High School 10th-graders scored higher at 86 and 82 percent, respectively, while Estrellita High School's rate was 31 percent and 19 percent. However, only 16 students took both the math and English-language arts portions.
Overall, area results were in line with last year's, where test scores remained fairly constant from the year before.
What does this mean to my student?
Ed Eldridge, Lodi Unified's assessment coordinator, said the test is designed so that most students should be able to pass it on their first attempt.
"Historically, we have found this to be the case in our district, as approximately 8 in 10 first-time test-takers pass both parts of the test."
He will present the district's data at the Sept. 15 school board meeting.
This is the second-to-last release of statewide test results that have kept districts busy analyzing figures over the last 30 days.
At Tuesday's board meeting, Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer gave a cautionary assessment of annual test scores in general: "We have made steady growth … but we're not trying to give the impression that all is well."
Check local high schools' score at lodinews.com through this link: lodinews.greatschools.net/test/landing.page?state=CA&tid=19.