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8th-Graders' Writing Ability Has Modest Gains

April 13, 1989

The state Department of Education has released school scores for a test of eighth-graders' writing ability in the 1987-88 academic year.

Overall, California's eighth graders made modest gains over last year.

The 1987-88 statewide average on the California Assessment Program direct writing exam was 256, six points higher than the 1986-87 average of 250. That meant that, although they are gradually improving, most eighth graders are fair to marginally adequate writers, state education officials said.

Below are scores for schools in Ventura County. Officials offer these guidelines on how to read them:

The scores are scaled between about 100 and 400 and allow comparisons with the state average of 256.

A different group of eighth graders is tested each year, which could account for large jumps or drops in scores. Other factors are changes in socioeconomic status. For instance, an influx of students whose parents have a high level of education could result in higher scores.

In addition, state officials said, the 1987-88 test was more demanding than the previous year's exam. The latest exam required students to be prepared to write six, as opposed to four, types of essays. The two new types of writing added were a biographical sketch and a story. The other categories were autobiography, evaluation, informative report and description of a problem and solution.

School districts are in boldface, followed by individual schools. Scores for magnet programs, continuation schools and other programs with small numbers of students have been omitted. The state does not provide individual student scores.

Officials may notice that the score for their school for the 1986-87 academic year, the first year in which the test was administered, has been revised. Department of Education officials said they learned a few weeks ago that an outside firm hired to compute the scores miscalculated the standard deviation, a common formula used to rank test results.

The 1987-88 scores were calculated using the correct standard deviation, state officials said.

VENTURA COUNTY

SCHOOL 1986-87 1987-88 Briggs Elementary 165 198 Briggs 165 198 Conejo Valley Unified 283 309 Redwood 279 312 Colina 309 347 Sequoia 273 296 Los Cerritos 276 280 Fillmore Unified 145 221 Fillmore 145 221 Hueneme Elementary 276 266 Blackstock 290 282 Green 263 249 Mesa Union Elem. 299 338 Mesa 299 338 Moorpark Unified 253 274 Chaparral 253 274 Mupu Elementary 207 198 Mupu 207 198 Oak Park Unified 283 313 Medea Creek 283 313 Ocean View Elem. 245 269 Ocean View 245 269 Ojai Unified 276 295 Matilija 276 295 Oxnard Elementary 217 220 Haydock 214 230 Fremont 220 212 Pleasant Valley Elem. 267 291 Los Altos 252 281 Monte Vista 283 288 Los Primeros 286 341 Las Colinas 258 329 Rio Elementary 221 261 Rio Del Valle 221 261 Santa Paula Elem. 202 227 Isbell 202 227 Simi Valley Unified 249 276 Sinaloa 246 261 Valley View 233 269 Sequoia 252 280 Hillside 270 295 Somis Union Elem. 247 300 Somis 247 300 Ventura Unified 262 276 Balboa 272 290 Cabrillo 286 280 Anacapa 252 288 De Anza 231 226

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