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34 Oakland Kids Awarded for Perfect Standardized Test Scores

Barbara Grady/Oakland Local

Elise Bourelly, left, with her sisters, scored 100 percent correct on the California STAR tests in math.

Thirty-four African American students from the Oakland Unified School District were awarded Thursday for achieving perfect scores - as in 100 percent correct - on the math or science portion of the California Standardized - or STAR - tests.

In an age when school districts strive to get more students, particularly students of color, to score "proficient" in the STAR tests - the fact that 34 students scored way above that milestone, and even above the advanced level to a perfect score, was recognized by OUSD officials as a celebratory milestone.

"Tonight we celebrate the beauty and the brilliance of our children," said the evening's emcee, Christopher Chatmon, director of the African-American Male Achievement Initiative in Oakland Unified Schools. "This is one of the few school districts in the nation that created a place and a space for African-American boys to (be encouraged to) achieve. We are in the vanguard for African-American male achievement in the nation."

Earlier in the day, the State Education Department released its API reports on all schools and districts statewide. A district's or a school's API score is based on its students' STAR tests results. The API for Oakland Unified is 730, according to the state data released Thursday, using STAR test results from the spring. That number is up three points from 2011. The district's API for its African-American students is 655, up four points from 2011. But that score still shows an achievement gap when compared to the API for white students of 900 and for Asian students of 826.

The tests that make up the California standardized scores consists of several math sections, several English Language Arts sections and then sections on science and history. 

The 32 students who won awards in math Thursday night received 100 percent on all of the math sections.

"The test was easy," said Micah Logan Jones, 9, a student at Carl Munck Elementary School. The fourth grader credited his teacher.

"I had a good teacher," he said. But his mother Felicia Logan Jones said that her son has an engineer's mind, always figuring out how things work. 

The mean score among African-American boys in third grade math STAR tests was 351.7. The mean score for all third graders taking the math STAR test was 388.7. Getting all the questions correct means Micah scored 600.

While this was the third annual "STAR Perfect Score Celebration" held by the OUSD's Office of African American Male Achievement, it was the first year that girls were recognized, as well. About 15 of the children being awarded were girls.

Elise Bourelly, 10, and a student at Chabot Elementary School, smiled broadly as she discussed winning an award.

Kim Shipp, a parent advocate and consultant who runs educational programs in OUSD schools, said of the children awarded for perfect scores, that achievement "propels them towards the track to go into honors and AP classes in high school and ultimately preparing for college."

Source: Oakland Local []

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