This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.

Aug. 23

California public school students in grades 2 through 11 take Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, tests to assess their academic progress. Below is a look at how students in most East Bay districts compared to those statewide in English language arts and math.

These scores will be used to create Academic Performance Index, or API, scores to be released Thursday. The state is shifting to a new testing system in 2014-15 that will assess students based on new Common Core Curriculum Standards, which are not aligned to current tests.

PERCENTAGE OF EAST BAY DISTRICT STUDENTS SCORING "PROFICIENT" OR BETTER IN 2013

English Math

CALIFORNIA 56.4 51.2

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY 62.3 55.7

Acalanes 87.1 56.3

Antioch 47.3 38.9

Brentwood 68.7 70.3

Byron 65.6 70.3

Canyon 81.1 66.0

John Swett 47.6 43.2

Knightsen 56.1 68.2

Lafayette 86.4 87.4

Liberty 63.5 27.0

Martinez 66.3 64.9

Moraga 91.2 89.1

Mt. Diablo 58.0 53.3


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Oakley 56.9 54.2

Orinda 91.6 91.1

Pittsburg 43.4 40.0

San Ramon 84.9 78.5

Walnut Creek 80.1 80.9

West Contra Costa 42.3 37.7

ALAMEDA COUNTY 61.3 55.2

Alameda City 70.8 63.1

Albany 77.9 74.7

Berkeley 66.6 57.9

Castro Valley 73.8 64.8

Dublin 79.4 74.1

Emery 44.9 38.1

Fremont 78.2 72.6

Hayward 41.0 37.9

Livermore 68.8 60.5

New Haven 55 42.9

Newark 55.6 53.3

Oakland 43.0 41.4

Piedmont 88.5 80.8

Pleasanton 83.4 72.5

Martinez dropped 2.7 percentage points in English to 66.3 percent proficient and dropped 0.7 percentage points in math to 64.9 percent proficient. Superintendent Rami Muth said the district is transitioning to Common Core standards, which are not measured in the STAR testing.

"As a result of these shifts in program and design our schools have experienced a decline in the STAR test scores," she said. "While this decline is not entirely unexpected it can convey the wrong impression about the forward progress of our schools. We will continue to carefully disaggregate our test scores to ensure that all of our students are learning the essential skills and content needed for long term success."

The Mt. Diablo district's English score dropped from 59.4 proficient to 58. The math score increased from 53.1 percent proficient to 53.3 percent.

"As a district, we are focused on continuous improvement and it's important to take note of the progress we have made over time," said Rose Lock, assistant superintendent of Student Achievement and School Support. "We are currently analyzing the results of the (tests) at the district as well as site levels. We will identify areas where we have to double our efforts to insure all of our students are achieving at high levels."

The Pittsburg and Pleasanton districts were flagged for security breaches related to social media postings of test questions or answers. Breaches involving test site images that didn't include questions or answers were identified in the Acalanes, Albany, Antioch, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Martinez, Milpitas, Mt. Diablo, New Haven, Newark, San Ramon Valley and West Contra Costa districts.

Staff writer Lisa P. White contributed to this report.