FUSD state test scores continue to rise

Fresno Unified students showed an improvement in the California Standards Test this year, marking the fifth consecutive year of higher scores, district officials said Wednesday.

"I'm proud of the entire system for continuing to move forward and make gains," superintendent Michael Hanson said.

But district officials acknowledged that much work remains to raise overall scores and proficiency levels.

Districtwide, math proficiency rates improved 11 percentage points since 2007, from 29.3% to 40.3%. English language-arts proficiency rates increased from 30.5% in 2007 to 38.7% -- an improvement of 8 percentage points.

Fifth-grade math scores in the proficient category increased significantly, climbing from 32.6% in 2007 to 53.7% this year.

"We've learned that where we apply ourselves, we get results," Hanson said. "That's very empowering for everyone involved."

Twenty-six percent of English learners scored as proficient or advanced in English language-arts -- an increase of 9 percentage points since 2007.

"Advanced" demonstrates a comprehensive and complex understanding of the knowledge and skills of a subject; "proficient" reflects a competent and adequate understanding. Other categories include basic, below basic and far below basic.

Hanson said the district has also made significant gains behaviorally, with decreases in expulsions and suspensions.

But he said the district still has tremendous work to do in order to get students to a higher academic level, because the district's proficiency rates are still too low.

The district has a goal of 60% proficiency in math and English language-arts. The goal was 50% in 2007 and 2008 but was raised as students' scores improved, Hanson said.