California public school students made overall gains in every category of the state's Standardized Testing and Reporting program, but an achievement gap in which black and Hispanic students lag behind other students persists, the state's top education official said Tuesday.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced Tuesday that 50 percent of California students in grades 2 through 11 tested proficient or higher in English-language arts.
O'Connell described this result as "a major milestone," saying only 46 percent of students met that mark in the 2008 STAR results.
This year's test results, released Tuesday morning, also showed that 46 percent of students scored proficient or higher in math, he said - a 3 percent jump from last year. Nearly 4.8 million students took the state exams this spring.
Students also made significant overall gains in science, history and social sciences, he said. The state goal, he said, is to have 100 percent of California students score proficient or advanced in every category of the STAR exams.
Students in the Oakland Unified School District made 4 percent proficiency gains in both categories. Two-thirds of students are proficient or better in English, and 59 percent meet state goals for math. Both black and Hispanic students' improvement rates were higher than the district average.
The San Francisco Unified School District saw an overall 3.5 percent jump in students who test proficient or higher in English and language arts, and a 2.8 percent increase in math scores at those levels. Now 54 percent of the district's students meet state goals for English and 62 percent do so for math, according to Superintendent Carlos Garcia.
Administrators and educators in San Francisco cheered the district's results, as well greater increases in scores among black and Hispanic students, at a news conference Tuesday.
STAR results for Pleasanton schools will be posted online later today and listed in Friday's Pleasanton Weekly print edition.