Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Saying the goal is not to close the achievement gap but to eliminate it altogether, San Diego County educators presented figures Tuesday showing significant improvement in California High School Exit Exam passing rates for San Diego County Latino and African-American students in 2005.
CAHSEE passing rates for the math portion of the test for Latino and African-American students in 2005 was 14 percent less than for white and Asian students, down from 25 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 2003, said Ed Brand, superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District, at a press conference at the San Diego County Office of Education.
The achievement gap refers to the difference in academic performance between white and Asian students on the one hand, and Latino and African-American students on the other hand, said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Rudy Castruita.
To address the disparity, county officials established an Achievement Gap Task Force in 2003, chaired by Brand, which enlisted the support of superintendents and educators from all 42 county school districts. The task force has been devoting considerable attention and resources to closing the gap in academic achievement among student subgroups, a gap most educators say stems from inequities in income levels, educational opportunities and societal expectations.
In 2003, the task force examined the data and found that 69 percent of white and Asian students had passed the math portion of the CAHSEE, whereas only 32 percent of Latino and African-American students had.
The challenge, Brand said, was “to accelerate the students who were not doing well and make sure they reached the benchmark.”