The number of students meeting or exceeding state standards in math and English increased at four Santa Ynez Valley area schools, decreased at four and did both at one, according to results released by the California Department of Education.

But even the schools where the numbers decreased had a greater percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards in both math and English than the statewide average.

One school that showed an increase in the percentage of students reaching or exceeding math standards had a lower percentage of students attaining that level than the statewide average.

Scores were not provided for two Santa Ynez Valley Schools — College Elementary School and Refugio High School.

The results for grades three through eight and grade 11 from the 2017 Smarter Balanced assessments of math and English language arts were compiled and compared to results from 2016 by EdSource, a nonprofit journalism website that reports on education issues in California.

Schools that experienced an increase in the number of students meeting or exceeding state standards in both math and English were Santa Ynez Elementary School, Santa Ynez Valley Charter School, Solvang Elementary School and Jonata Middle School.

At Los Olivos Elementary School, the number of students exceeding or meeting standards in English increased, but in math the number decreased.

Schools where the number of students meeting or exceeding the standards decreased in both math and English were Ballard Elementary School, Oak Valley Elementary School, Olga L. Reed Elementary School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

Tests administered in the spring marked the third year of testing based on the Common Core State Standards using assessments created with input from several states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

The tests form part of the state's California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

Individual scores are categorized in four achievement levels that indicate whether a student has exceeded, met, nearly met or did not meet the standard.

Going up

In English language skills, the greatest percentage increase among students meeting or exceeding state standards came at Solvang Elementary, which also had the greatest percentage increase — by far — in the math skills assessment.

In 2016, 54 percent of Solvang Elementary students met or exceeded the English language standards. But in 2017, 59.01 percent did so for a 5.01 percent increase.

In 2016, 44 percent of the Solvang Elementary students met or exceeded standards in math skills. But on the 2017 tests, 61.58 percent attained that level for a 17.58 percent increase.

Santa Ynez Valley Charter School showed only a small increase in the number of students meeting or exceeding English skills standards, going from 66 percent in 2016 to 66.17 percent in 2017.

But the school’s students fared better on the math skills assessment, where 46.62 percent met or exceeded standards on the 2017 test, up 5.62 percent from the 41 percent who did so in 2016.

At Santa Ynez Elementary, 51 percent of the students met or exceeded English language skills in 2016. The percentage rose to 51.05 percent on the 2017 test.

In math skills, 35 percent of the students met or exceeded state standards on the 2016 test. The percentage rose to 35.66 percent on the 2017 test.

The number of Jonata Middle School students who met or exceeded state standards on English skills rose 2.09 percent, from 78 percent reaching that level in 2016 to 80.09 percent in 2017.

Students meeting or exceeding math skills standards rose 6.81 percent, from 63 percent in 2016 to 69.81 percent in 2017.

Half and half

Los Olivos Elementary was the only school where the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards went up in one subject and down in the other.

In the 2016 test, 69 percent of the Los Olivos students met or exceeded English language skills standards. That percentage increased 4.83 percent to 73.83 percent on the 2017 test.

But in the math skills test, the 61 percent of Los Olivos students who met or exceeded the standard in 2016 fell 5.34 percent to 55.66 percent on the 2017 test.

Going down

Among the schools that showed a decrease in percentages, Oak Valley Elementary School had 68 percent of its students meet or exceed English language skills standards in 2016, but that percentage fell 4.6 percent to 63.4 percent on the 2017 assessment.

In math skills, the 60 percent of Oak Valley students who met or exceeded standards in 2016 fell 6.91 percent to 53.09 percent in 2017.

Despite experiencing decreases, Ballard Elementary School had very high percentages of students meeting or exceeding both English language and math standards in both years.

In the 2016 test, 92 percent of the Ballard students met or exceeded English skills, but that percentage fell 7.07 percent to 84.93 percent in the 2017 test.

For the math assessment, 80 percent of the Ballard students met or exceeded the standard in 2016. That fell by 3.29 percent to 76.71 on the 2017 test.

At Olga Reed Elementary School, 32 percent of the students met or exceeded the standards for English language skills. That dropped by 3.64 percent to 28.36 percent on the 2017 test.

In math skills, 27 percent of the Olga Reed students met or exceeded the standards in 2016, and that fell 4.78 percent to 22.22 percent on the 2017 test.

The greatest percentage decrease in English language skills was at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, where 75 percent of the 11th-grade students met or exceeded the standards for English language skills in 2016 but just 62.33 percent did in 2017 — a 12.67 percent decrease.

In math skills, 55 percent of the 11th-graders met or exceeded the state standards on the 2016 assessment, but that dropped 5.22 percent to 49.78 percent on the 2017 test.

State isn’t great

The figures for the statewide average weren’t combined into “met or exceeded” but were presented separately, making it a little more difficult to compare them to the individual schools.

In English language skills, 28.44 percent of students statewide met the standards on the 2017 test, which represented a 0.56 percent decrease from 2016. But 20.12 percent exceeded the state standards on the 2017 test, an increase of 0.12 percent.

On the math skills test, 19.96 percent of the students met the standards in 2017, marking a 0.04 percent decrease from the 2016 assessment. But 17.6 percent exceeded the standards for a 0.6 percent increase from 2016.

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Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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