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Seniors Score Above Average But Lower Than Past Classes

April 18, 1985|MARC IGLER | Times Staff Writer

Glendale high school seniors scored well above the state average in math and writing on recent tests and slightly above the average in reading and spelling. But, overall, they fared worse than Glendale 12th-graders who graduated in past years, according to figures just released.

The scores are from the California Assessment Program test, which was given in December to high school seniors statewide to measure skill in the four academic areas. Test results also were released for the La Canada Unified School District and for high schools in northeast Los Angeles.

Seniors at Crescenta Valley High School in northern Glendale continued to score better in all categories than did their counterparts at Hoover and Glendale high schools. District spokesman Vic Pallos noted, however, that part of Crescenta Valley's success could be attributed to the the fact that far more Crescenta Valley seniors are fluent in English than are seniors at the two schools in the southern section of the city.

Spelling, Reading Gain

Crescenta Valley 12th-graders, 94% of whom speak fluent English, scored better than those in last year's graduating class in spelling and reading, but they did not fare as well in math and writing. The improvement in spelling was particularly dramatic, as Crescenta Valley seniors correctly answered on the average 73.1 of 100 questions, jumping from last year's average of 69.1. The results in spelling put Crescenta Valley seniors in the 87th percentile statewide, far above last year's percentile ranking of 49th.

Hoover High School seniors, on the other hand, scored significantly higher than students who graduated from the school in 1984 in three categories--reading, writing and math--but slightly lower in spelling. Of particular note, officials said, was Hoover's rise to the 67th percentile statewide in writing, compared with last year's ranking in the 49th percentile.

Language Barrier

About 27% of the 12th-graders at Hoover cannot speak fluent English, a statistic that is the same for the senior class at Glendale High School.

Glendale High seniors scored lower than last year's 12th-graders in all categories, but especially in spelling. Seniors on the average correctly answered only 68.1 of 100 questions, plummeting the school to the 40th percentile statewide in that area. Last year, Hoover seniors scored in the 62nd percentile in spelling.

Districtwide results place Glendale seniors in the 59th percentile statewide in spelling and reading, in the 73rd percentile in writing, and in the 79th percentile in math.

Contrasted with the graduating class in 1980, this year's seniors fared worse in all categories except math. District officials attribute the drop to the large number of non-English-speaking immigrants who have come to Glendale in recent years. In 1980, for example, only 6% of the city's high school graduates could not speak fluent English, contrasted with 20.2% this year, Pallos said.

La Canada Success

Meanwhile, seniors enrolled at La Canada High School in La Canada Flintridge remained near the top of the list among 12th-graders throughout the state, registering between the 92nd and 98th percentile in all four categories.

Seniors improved their test scores in writing and math but did not score as well in reading and spelling contrasted with last year's graduates. In the mainly white, upper middle class city, very few students require bilingual instruction, said Lorraine Baker, the district's director of curriculum.

In the four categories, La Canada seniors scored the lowest in spelling, correctly answering 73.8 of 100 questions, a slip that puts 12th-graders in the 92nd percentile statewide after last year's ranking of 95th.

Although state percentile rankings were not available for high schools in Los Angeles, test results show that 12th-graders on the whole improved in every category contrasted with last year's seniors.

Los Angeles Scores

Of the three high schools in northeast Los Angeles, only seniors at Eagle Rock High School scored above the districtwide average in all areas. But, contrasted with last year's graduating class at Eagle Rock, they scored worse in reading, writing and math while posting a slight improvement in spelling.

Seniors at Marshall High School in the Silver Lake neighborhood and at Franklin High School in the Highland Park area scored worse in all categories contrasted with last year's 12th-graders. The drop in scores at Franklin was particularly acute in math and writing. At Marshall, which also has a high percentage of students with limited English skill, the biggest slip was in reading scores.

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