The majority of students in districts throughout the Santa Maria Valley region continue to score below state standards, according to the latest test results released Wednesday by the California Department of Education.

First implemented in 2015, the Smarter Balanced assessment measures the English and math proficiency of students in grades three through eight and 11. Released after a monthlong delay, test results indicate that students enrolled at schools in the Santa Maria-Bonita, Santa Maria Joint Union and Guadalupe Unified school districts continue to struggle meeting state testing standards for English and math.

Approximately 10,500 students from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District were tested this past spring, with roughly 27.8 percent of students meeting or exceeding state English standards. While the percent of students who tested proficient in math increased by 2.2 percent, only 21.2 percent of all students tested were found to be proficient.

At the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, 1,844 students took the test. Overall, the district witnessed a decrease in the percent of students who tested proficient in English and math. Roughly 46 percent either met or exceeded English standards, while only 18.1 percent were proficient in math, down by 1 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, when compared to 2016.

Seventeen percent of the 863 students at the Guadalupe Union School district tested proficient in English, down by .3 percent compared to 2016. While the district experienced a .7-percent increase in math proficiency, only 7.7 percent of students met or exceeded math standards.

Despite slight declines in the percent of students who met English and math standards, students enrolled at Orcutt Union School District schools met state standards at higher rate than state averages. According to the Department of Education, roughly 49 percent of students met English benchmarks while 38 percent met math standards. Roughly 50.5 percent of Orcutt Union students met or exceeded English standards, while 42.7 percent were proficient in math.

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The Lompoc Unified School district experienced a marginal increase in English proficiency while slipping slightly in math. Compared to 2016, the percent of students meeting English standards increased by .3 percent while math decreased by .5 percent.

Proficiency rates at the Santa Ynez Valley High School District shrank dramatically compared to 2016. While it exceeded the state average, the percent of students who tested proficient in English decreased by 11.3 percent to 60.7 percent total. The percent of students who tested proficient in math also was down by 4.5 percent to 48.5 percent total.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga

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