The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District continued to show improvements in the percentage of students who score at the proficient or advanced levels on the California Standards Tests (CST), according to the spring test results released by the California Department of Education.

The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results reflect student academic achievement in English language arts, math, science and history. Test scores fall into one of five levels: Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient or Advanced. School officials say the goal is for every student to score at the proficient or advanced level.

The Santa Monica-Malibu district continues to compare favorably both countywide and statewide in all subject areas and has once again demonstrated increased proficiency rates in every subject area.

“The gains over 2009 are part of a longitudinal pattern of steady and continuous improvement over time. This multi-year upward trend is reflective of the high caliber of our teachers and their ongoing efforts to improve instructional practice,” SMMUSD Superintendent Tim Cuneo said.

“Our work continues as we build a strategic plan centered on narrowing the achievement gap for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, English learners and students with disabilities.”

Since 2002, the district has made gains of 18 percentage points in science and history, 15 points in English language arts, and 11 percentage points in mathematics.

“We look forward to continuing our professional development for 2010-11, particularly honing in on students’ transition from elementary school to middle school mathematics,” said Peggy Harris, director of curriculum and instruction.

According to English language arts results, African American and Latino students have gained 25 and 23 percentage points respectively since 2002, compared to gains for white and Asian students of 11 and 15 points. In math, gains for African American and Latino students, English learners and economically disadvantaged students also outpace the growth made for the district as a whole.

District officials also highlighted the increase in the district-wide percentage of students who scored in the advanced category. In math and science, the percentage of students scoring at the advanced level increased by nearly four points, and in English by three points.

Dr. Sally Chou, chief academic officer, attributed the district’s continuing gains in part to the tremendous support of parents and community.