Sierra Madre Leads PUSD in English, Math STAR Testing Scores

Press Release posted 8/8/13 – Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) test scores on the 2013 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) exams mirrored statewide results and dipped slightly, according to results released August 8 by the California Department of Education (CDE). STAR tests are administered each spring to students in grades 2-11.

“The progress at most of our schools could be defined as steady,” said PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. “The effects of the long-term school funding crisis are visible in this year’s scores. With our limited resources the decision was made to focus on the future and prepare for the introduction of the new Common Core Standards and the transition to the next generation of assessments rather than intense preparation for a lame-duck assessment test.

PUSD has undergone a rigorous process of rewriting the district curriculum and planning professional development for educators in preparation for the transition to Common Core Standards and the next generation of curriculum and assessments. For more information of the transition to Common Core, please visit

50 percent of PUSD students scored proficient or above in English Language Arts (ELA), down 2 percent from 2012 but an increase of 28 percent since 2003, the year the STAR tests became fully aligned with state standards. 45 percent of PUSD students scored proficient or above in math, a 1 percent decrease from 2012 and an 18 point jump from 2003 scores.

San Rafael Elementary led the district in overall improvement in ELA, rising 10 percent in one year and 21 percent over five years. San Rafael Elementary also led in overall math improvement, rising 12 percent in one year and 23 percent during the same period. Home to the district’s dual language immersion program in Spanish, the school was also the pilot site for Artful Connections with Math, an innovative district program that uses standards-based visual arts lessons to target key math learning standards.

Sierra Madre Elementary once again topped the district in overall achievement in ELA with 79 percent of students scoring proficient or above. Sierra Madre Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary led in math with 81 and 80 percent of students scoring proficient or above. (Editor’s Note: emphasis mine).

While not reflected on this round of data reporting, a serious testing irregularity occurred during the administration of the STAR tests last spring at Norma Coombs Alternative School. In one classroom students reported that they were encouraged to check their work during the test, a violation of test rules. When discovered, the district promptly reported the incident to CDE officials. Possible sanctions include the school not receiving an API score for 2013 and 2014.

Visit for complete school, district and state data or visit for more PUSD data and charts. Individual student test results will be mailed home within the next few weeks. Academic Performance Index (API) scores will be released by the state in September.