O.C. Stanford scores rise

EDUCATION: The results -- finally in -- show improvement but generally trail U.S. averages.

Orange County students outperformed California’s on state test results released Thursday, but debate still raged over what the scores revealed about limited-English students.

Scores for Orange County students improved in 39 of 43 categories on the Stanford 9 tests but still trailed the national average in most subjects. In language and math, Orange County students consistently topped the 50th percentile — the national average.

“I’d be very concerned if Orange County wasn’t exceeding the state in test scores. Our population gives us socio-economic advantages,” said Larry Callison, director of assessment for Saddleback Valley Unified School District.

State law requires the scores to be released June 30, but computer problems delayed their publication for three weeks — and caused the state Department of Education to miss its release time by five hours again Thursday.

This was the second year 4.2 million California students in grades 2-11 were required to take the tests, but the first year since voters approved Proposition 227, which required almost all instruction to occur in English.

State Superintendent Delaine Eastin said there was no significant improvement in scores for students who speak limited-English.

“It’s too early to either celebrate or throw stones,” she said.

But Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who sponsored Prop. 227, said his analysis showed gains averaging 5 percentile points among limited-English students, a more significant improvement than studies have attributed to class-size reduction and other costly reforms.

“Success of this type is unprecedented,” Unz said.

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