Schools and Libraries
September 25, 2013
At the Sept. 24 meeting of the Long Beach Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Kenneth Graham gave a detailed presentation about student performance in the 2012-2013 school year. The presentation analyzed five indicators of success: standardized test scores, graduation rate and Advanced Regents diploma rate, enrollment in college-level courses, course success rates and positive school culture indicators.
In the state assessment exams that were not revised this year, students mostly continued to perform at proficiency levels similar to previous years. This included the Grade 4 and 8 science assessments, as well as the Regents exams in English, integrated algebra, geometry, algebra II/trigonometry, living environment, U.S. history and global history. Students also posted very strong results in the FLACS exams in French, Italian and Spanish. In addition, 38 percent of English language learners met their proficiency targets in 2012-2013.
For the ELA and math assessments for grades 3-8, which were revamped by the state this year to align with the new, more challenging Common Core Learning Standards, Long Beach Public Schools, like schools throughout the state and county, experienced noticeable declines in the 2012-2013 assessment scores, as was predicted by the state. As Dr. Graham explained, the new assessments test a revised curriculum, using different scales and cut scores for proficiency, so comparisons to previous ELA and math assessment scores would not yield any meaningful data. He did note that the district’s relative rank in the county improved in eight out of 12 of the tested areas, despite lost instructional time and other hardships resulting from Superstorm Sandy.
Other indicators of success revealed marked improvement. The high school graduation rate has risen, with the percentage of students earning a Regents diploma increasing from 86 percent in 2007 to 98 percent in 2013. In that same time period, enrollment in International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and college-level courses has doubled, with performance on AP and IB exams remaining high. The number of students earning IB diplomas has doubled since the first IB diploma class graduated in 2010. The number of IB diploma candidates is expected to quadruple by 2015. Approximately 94 percent of high school courses are successfully completed. The success rate at the middle school is 98 percent.
As the success rates have risen, the number of students attending summer school, in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension has decreased, while the number of students participating in arts and music, academic enrichment and extracurricular programs has increased.
Dr. Graham concluded his presentation with a plan of action outlining the steps being taken to continue to improve student achievement, including academic intervention services, curriculum writing and revision projects, monthly data and accountability meetings, and collaboration between teachers, administrators and parents. To view a copy of the presentation, visit the School Board homepage at www.lbeach.org.