English scores top district, but math a struggle at BHS

SARAH SNITZER Staff Writer


Branham students performed better or on par with the other schools in math and outperformed all other schools in the district in English in the latest round of online stan- dardized tests known as the CAASPP.

On the English test, 84 percent of Branham juniors met or exceeded standards, compared to 74 percent at Leigh and 76 percent at Pros- pect. In math, just 53 percent met or exceeded standards, on par with Prospect and West- mont, but well behind Leigh, which had 62 percent meeting or exceeding standards.

The California Assessment of Student Per- formance and Progress, is also known as the SBAC.

The standardized test is designed to assess juniors’ proficiency in English, math, and science. It is also the new measure of school quality. Our scores affect not only Branham’s reputation, but factors such as the value of homes in the district area.

AP Language teacher Mrs. Nancy Freschi said that a lot of preparation went into the English language test among junior classes.

“We presented the SBAC as a very valid test and made clear its importance to juniors, so they took it very seriously,” Mrs. Freschi said.

Principal Cheryl Lawton attributed the success to the common core implementation, which emphasizes language skills among all class subjects.

Although this year’s scores show a positive trend overall, the scores also reveal a clear disparity between certain demographics: students with disabilities, Latino students, and economically disadvantaged students all scored significantly lower than the rest of the population.

There is a wide gap between Asian students, the highest-scoring population in both English and Math, and economically disadvantaged students in both categories (96 percent to 64 percent in English and 91 percent to 27 percent in Math).

The opportunity gap is a complex, nationwide issue created by a variety of barriers that prevent educational equity between students of different races and socioeconomic classes.

As a school that prides itself on being diverse and welcoming to students from all different backgrounds, Branham is taking various steps to address this issue. The school is starting pro-
grams such as AVID, which works to support less advantaged students, and QTEL (Quality Teaching for English Learners), which focuses on providing teachers with a range of teaching strategies that they can use to help students with all different needs.

“Being able to address the learning styles and needs of all different students will help (the school) provide access to the support and teaching strategies they need,” said Mrs. Lawton.

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