Despite statewide budget cuts and unpaid furlough days, Alhambra Unified students showed improvements in 2011. The district boasted the highest API growth in the area. These rankings are based partially on the Standardized Testing and Results (STAR) scores, which measure student proficiency in English-language arts and mathematics.
AUSD had a 2 point increase in the average number of students scoring at the “proficient” level or higher in English-language arts to 64 percent. That was 10 points higher than the statewide average, which saw a similar increase in scores. In mathematics, which tested grades 2 through 7 in Alhambra, the district did even better. Approximately 73 percent of students scored at the “proficient” level or higher in mathematics, with an average of 46 percent in the “advanced” range. The state average was significantly lower: 50 percent of California students scored at the “proficient” level or higher.
The above average scores, however, appear to be due in large part to the achievements of Asian students. Although incrementally smaller than last year, a stark achievement gap remains between Latino students and white and Asian students. For English-language arts it is about 25 points. In mathematics the gap is even larger: there is a more than 30 point difference between Asian students, who consistently score the highest, and Latino students who score the lowest. Roughly 88 percent of Asian students and 73 percent of white students in Alhambra Unified score at the “proficient” level or above in mathematics, while 54 percent of Latino students score “proficient” or higher, which is just 4 points above the state average.
"The gap is closing slowly," AUSD Superintendent Donna Perez said. "It's a steady march day by day to close that gap. There is no secret that will close that gap within a couple of years. We're constantly looking at training that makes a difference when working with our Hispanic students."
This is not a problem unique to Alhambra. While large, the English-language arts gap in Alhambra is smaller by nine points than the statewide one of 34 points. For mathematics it is about the same as the state gap. Interestingly, the gap between white and Latino students is smaller in Alhambra than statewide. There is a 28.6 point gap between the average score for Latino and white students in California and a 17.6 point gap between the two ethnicities in Alhambra.
Visit the California Department of Education website to view the 2011 STAR report.