June 30, 2000

UCSD Honors Cajon Valley Middle School for Math Score Improvement

Farrell Foreman, an assistant director in UCSD's Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), recently present Martin Jaquez, principal of Cajon Valley Middle School, with EAOP's "Raising the Bar Award" honoring the school's eighth grade students for showing the most improvement in math scores among the state's low-income middle schools in a major assessment test taken last year.

Farrell Foreman, (left) of UCSD, with Martin Jaquez, (far right) principal of Cajon Valley Middle School, and students Esteban Reyes, Luis Tiznado, Ashley King and Danikar Drier (left to right).

The award, which also acknowledges Cajon Valley parents, teachers and staff for the part they played in test score improvements, was presented June 21 at the school's eighth-grade student graduation ceremonies. Also presenting awards to the graduates and school for academic achievement and leadership were representatives from the El Cajon Lions Club, Cajon Valley Education Association, and Cajon Valley Administrators Association.

Results of the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT 9), a basic skills test given each year to all California students in grades two through 11, show that Cajon Valley students improved 19 percentile points in math. The students scored at the 48th percentile, meaning they were two points below the national average of 50. Test results were officially announced by the California Department of Education earlier in the school year.

Cajon Valley's score put them first in the state for math improvement at a low-income school Also impressive were the student's improvements in reading scores, up 12 percentile points from 1998, when they scored at the 22nd percentile.

Cajon Valley is one of more than 90 other elementary, middle schools and high schools in San Diego and Imperial counties served by UCSD's Early Academic Outreach Program, an intensive effort to help underrepresented and low-income students prepare early for successful college admission through such activities as academic motivation, one-on-one academic counseling, study skill enhancement and after-school tutoring in math, science and English.

In addition to such initiatives, Cajon Valley school officials say other steps have also contributed to test score improvements, including smaller class sizes, additional teacher training, teaching students better test-taking skills, more focus on practice and drilling of fundamentals in the classroom, and extended school library hours.

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