Our Opinion: A positive trend

October 19, 2001

The newest data from the state's Academic

Performance Index has been released and the numbers show most of our students are doing better on the SAT-9 tests by which the state evaluates young people's academic abilities.

A standardized test is not a perfect way to determine a youth's academic growth, but the state has to do something to get a handle on how well schools are doing and how well our students are taking in the material being taught.

It appears our kids in the Imperial Valley are doing better, although not uniformly. For years there has been concern about low standardized test scores in most Imperial Valley schools. There are reasons for that, specifically poverty, language barriers for students and lack of education of parents.


Concerns about scores have led schools to take serious steps in educating our young people. Those steps, including more tutoring, math and reading programs, have started to make a difference in our API scores. The scores show there is a trend toward improvement. That doesn't mean the scores are great. Only one of our schools, Hedrick Elementary School on the west side of El Centro, has reached the standard the state has set as a long-term goal for schools regarding the APIs. Pine and McCabe elementaries, in rural Holtville and El Centro, respectively, are near reaching that goal.

The majority of Imperial Valley schools have lower scores than the state, and we, would like. The good news is the majority of local schools have seen higher test scores than they saw when API numbers were last released. Some schools took unexpected and thus far unexplained drastic dips. We hope what went wrong is determined.

An increased effort to get parents involved in schools also is making a difference. The community knows there is a problem with the low scores, has accepted that and is trying to do something about it.

If our students are doing better, it is because of a team effort between teachers, administrators, volunteers and parents … and don't forget students. We cannot rest because there appears to be a positive trend.

Despite the emphasis on standardized testing, education cannot only be geared toward standardized tests, toward our kids learning to fill in the correct bubbles. Most educators realize this and are doing all possible to make sure our children have a well-rounded education, from the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, to history, science, art and music.

This has not been an easy time for schools or teachers. They are under a great deal of scrutiny. And our schools are doing better, and that is wonderful.

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