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STAR scores up for fifth year


California's STAR scores have risen for the fifth consecutive year.

And students at Tuolumne and Calaveras county schools are still ahead of the curve, with scores staying just above the rising statewide average.

The results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting program were released Friday, indicating how well second- to 11th-grade students in California are doing in English and math, compared to each other and the rest of the nation.

This year, test scores must align with federal standards set under the No Child Left Behind program set by the Bush Administration, which addresses every facet of education.

STAR scores don't affect kids' grades. The tests break schools into five levels of achievement: advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic. Each level indicates how well each school is performing.

The No Child Left Behind standards say 13.6 percent of elementary students and 11.6 percent of high school students must be proficient in English and language arts and 16 percent of elementary and 10 percent of high school students must be proficient in math. California schools remain above federal standards.

The No Child program aims to have 100 percent proficiency in both subjects by 2014, and some foothills administrators say they can do that.

"This year is our base year," said Calaveras County Superintendent of Schools John Brophy. "We've got some time periods in there to bring our kids up to snuff, if you will."

Both Calaveras and Tuolumne County students scored an average of about 8 percentage points over the state this year.

Ken Harbord, Sonora Elementary School District superintendent, said he expected his school's scores to go up, but said the plan to have 100 percent proficiency is not well thought out.

"They're going to spend the second five years focusing on the bottom half (of the students), leaving the top half behind," Harbord said.

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