Palo Alto's elementary and middle school students are making progress in closing the achievement gap, with students of all ethnicities improving their standardized test scores, according to the school district.
Even so, the district fell short of several ambitious goals it set in 2008.
Results of the 2012 California Standards (STAR) Test for the district's third- through eighth-graders will be presented to the Palo Alto school board tonight, along with an analysis of score trends on the same test since 2008.
District statistician Diana Wilmot parsed score trends for a range of ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups, as well as on the basis of parent education.
Wilmot's analysis shows the district met its goal of reducing by 50 percent the number of "not yet proficient" fourth- through eighth-graders. In math, the number of "not yet proficient" students dropped from 11 percent to 5.5 percent. In language, that number dropped from 9.2 percent to 4.6 percent.
But the district fell short of its 2008 goal of getting 95 percent of students to score "advanced" or "proficient" in math and language arts. The percentage of students scoring "advanced" or "proficient" in those categories were 85.8 percent in math and 89.5 percent in language.
It also fell short of its goal of getting 85 percent of third- through eighth-graders to make at least a year's progress in both those areas. The percentage of students making at least a year's progress were 78.3 percent in math and 84.2 percent in language.
Wilmot will present a similar analysis of score trends for high school students Oct. 23.
In other business tonight, the board will vote on endorsing two education-related propositions on November's state ballot: Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's temporary taxes to fund education and local public-safety funding, and Proposition 38, Los Angeles lawyer Molly Munger's proposed tax to fund education and early childhood programs.
Brown's measure, Proposition 30, would boost personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years, and increase sales and use tax by a quarter-cent for four years.
The approximately $6 billion a year in temporary revenues would be allocated 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges.
Failure of the measure would trigger $6 billion in immediate spending cuts, mainly in education.
Proposition 38, Munger's initiative, would increase for 12 years personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7,316, using a sliding scale from .4 percent for the lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individuals earning over $2.5 million.
In the first year, the roughly $10 billion in proceeds would be allocated 60 percent for K-12, 30 percent to repay state debt and 10 percent to early childhood education.
After that, allocation would be 85 percent to K-12 and 15 percent to early childhood education.
Proposition 38 allocates funding on a school-specific, per-pupil basis subject to local control, and prohibits the state from directing the new funds.
If Propositions 30 and 38 both pass, the state Constitution specifies that the provisions of the measure receiving more "yes" votes prevail.
The meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave. It will be webcast live through the Midpeninsula Community Media Center and also cablecast on local government channels.