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OPINION: SBHS test scores, graduate rate continue to improve

Continued improvement and outpacing of the state in many categories are encouraging signs, as the district works to give students the most options upon graduation

Article provided to BenitoLink by San Benito High School District Superintendent, Shawn Tennenbaum.


The recent release of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exam results continues the encouraging, upward trend of standardized test scores among San Benito High School students — highlighting progress made as the district’s teachers continue to emphasize academic rigor in the classroom to support college and career readiness.

We are proud to report that the three-year trend results in the computer-based SBAC testing show that 64 percent of SBHS students met or exceeded English Language Arts proficiency levels in 2017, up from 59 percent in 2016 and 48 percent in 2015— the first year the test was offered. Those local scores outpaced the state numbers by 4 percent. Math scores also continued their climb in our school, equaling the state’s numbers with 32 percent of Baler students meeting or exceeding proficiency levels last year, a jump from 25 percent the year before and 20 percent in 2015.

What’s more, SBHS students outpaced the state percentage in all subgroups for ELA testing, including socially/economically disadvantaged, English Learners, Special Education, Latino, and White. In math, four out of the five subgroups of our students met or exceeded the state percentages. The two-part SBAC tests measure depth of understanding, writing, research and problem-solving skills more thoroughly than previous multiple choice paper tests.

San Benito’s test score improvement continued last academic year with Advanced Placement testing, in which our students for the first time outperformed both the state and global overall passing rates. This has occurred as enrollment in AP Statistics courses on campus has grown from 136 students in 2015-2016 to 157 this year. Enrollment has also increased in AP Calculus AB and BC courses and both the percentage and number of Baler students meeting the SAT math benchmark increased over the past year, slightly outpacing the state average.

The percentage and number of SBHS students meeting the SAT math benchmark increased from 2016 to 2017 by 7 percent, putting it slightly above the state average. During that time, females had a significant increase (16 percent) in the percentage that met the math benchmark, and the percentage of Latino students who met the math benchmark on campus increased 9 percent in the past two years. Our school’s Latino students continue to have a notably higher percentage who meet the math benchmark, compared to both the Latino state and global averages.

In addition to the improved standardized test scores, San Benito High School’s graduation rate has increased from 95 percent in 2013-14 to 98 percent in 2016-17 — another mark above the state average.

While all of this academic progress should be celebrated, we know there is more work ahead to ensure that all students demonstrate a mastery of standards through testing. The entire district is committed to this cause, knowing that it takes a community effort of the district Board of Trustees, administration, teachers, support staff and parents.

We continue to strive to create the best academic environment for all students, using the newly-adopted Strategic Plan as our guiding light on the path to academic excellence and an inclusive environment for all.


Shawn Tennenbaum, San Benito High School District Superintendent

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Very good, but as everyone knows, one robin does not make a spring. 

My previous criticism of the performance profile at SBHS was based on four years or more of SAT scores during which time we failed to even attain the state averages on individual parts and for a total score.  Continuous and sustained improvement is the key, no reasonable person expects some overnight miracle.

Keep it up, if these advances are more than a flash in the pan they will translate to better SAT scores and more college opportunities for our graduates.  The community deserves news releases when there is news be it good news or bad news; that should be the school's policy.


Marty Richman

Submitted by Aurelio Zuniga (azuniga) on

congratulations to all staff


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