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Little change seen in scores of state tests

By Erika Kelly Daily Planet correspondent
Friday August 17, 2001

Initial analysis of the 2001 Stanford 9 test scores, released this week, revealed little change from last year’s scores among Berkeley students. 

The 10-hour SAT9 exam tests students in math, reading and language skills and compares achievement for students in grades two through 11 throughout the state. 

Chris Lim, associate superintendent of instruction for the Berkeley Unified School District, cautioned against evaluating students too heavily based on these results. 

“I think it’s just one assessment of several you should be using,” said Lim. 

She stressed the importance of a variety of evaluation tools, including portfolios, class performance, project work, critical thinking and writing skills. 

Still, Lim was encouraged by the Berkeley students’ math results, which were slightly higher than the reading and language scores.  

She credited teachers’ use of other assessment tools during the school year that guides them in their evaluation of whether the students are meeting the state content standards. “(These tests) help to determine what the kids are learning and then it impacts what you’re teaching, so it is a closed cycle,” Lim said. 

The SAT9 test is part of Gov. Gray Davis’ efforts to hold schools accountable for meeting statewide education standards. Schools that perform well are eligible to receive monetary awards, while schools that perform poorly face sanctions.  

Several Berkeley teachers protested the monetary awards they received for last year’s positive test results, calling them “bribes,” and voluntarily gave their awards away. 

The test scores may reveal more patterns once administrators can further analyze differences between groups of students, said Lim.  

Some of the groups Lim plans to compare are male and female students; students who are economically disadvantaged and those who are not; and students who are receiving special education services and those who are not.