Only Half English Proficient

Rocketship scores drop for the 5th straight year, falling to state average for low income students.

CST English Over Time_Updated
Rocketship English proficiency scores drop over time, falling to the state average in 2013. Compiled from CDE CST research files.

According to a new analysis of statewide CST data, has found that only half of Rocketship students can read at grade level. Of the more than 1,000 Rocketship students tested in 2013, 50.7% percent were at proficient or advanced in reading and writing, according to state CST test scores. That compares to an average of 48% statewide for socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The state average has been steadily rising from 44% in 2009 while Rocketship’s scores have been dropping at a rapid clip of 7.5% per year. Although Rocketship has not publicly disclosed their mediocre results, their board discussed the worrisome issue extensively in their August 2013 board meeting (see slide below). Contrary to reports, this is not a single year dip in scores. Rocketship has dropped on average 7.5% each year; 2013 was no exception. Rocketship’s aggressive growth plans and precipitous drops in reading comprehension are a recipe for disaster. It’s time for Rocketship to scrap their growth plans and work to ensure that every student they have learns to read and write.

It’s a troubling trend when Rocketship claims to be in the top 5% of low income schools, and yet scores right at average in reading and writing for low income students.

With a strong trend of falling test scores, a major teacher retention problem, and a huge fundraising gap, one would presume that Rocketship’s expansion plans would be put on hold. However, Rocketship will apply to open 5 schools in Morgan Hill Unified on Jan 15 at the Santa Clara County Office Of Education. The corporate education reform movement initially started as an initiative to bring strong accountability to education. But nationwide, charters perform about the same, and often worse as compared to district schools. Here in Silicon Valley, Rocketship proves to follow that trend, scoring about average as compared to the state’s low income schools.

Rocketship should focus on improving its existing schools before launching an aggressive growth plan with mediocre performance. Please send an email to the County Office and Education, and let them know that they should put their efforts into helping Rocketship fix their performance problems instead of helping Rocketship grow their mediocre schools.

Send the County Office of Education an email asking to stop Rocketship’s growth:

CST English2
This snapshot was taken from Rocketship’s August 7th, 2013 board materials, page 57.

Methods: CDE Star test data research files and CDE API data research files were crossed referenced for schools with greater than 50% Socioeconomically disadvantaged students (as defined in API data files). Schools with more than 50% SED students in 2013 were used for average CST scores for all 5 years. All averages are weighted by number of students.