LAUSD students making API gains
smf: It’s the kids who take the tests – but note the ‘spin’ and the ‘framing’ .When the scores go up it’s the students, when they go down it’s the teachers/administrators/charter operators and (mea culpa) Mayor Tony.
Posted: 08/31/2011 12:03:54 PM PDT - Students at Los Angeles schools continue making steady academic gains, with a record number of campuses meeting key state achievement goals, according to test results released today.
The Los Angeles Unified School District scored 728 on the Academic Performance Index this year, an increase of 19 points from last year - the largest increase of any urban district in California.
The API, compiled from Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR results, and the California High School Exit Exam, is used by school officials and parents alike to gauge the academic achievement of local schools.
API scores range from 200 to 1,000 points, with a statewide goal of all schools reaching 800, which usually requires most students at a campus to test proficient on the required exams.
"I am extraordinarily proud of the work of this district," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.
"Once again this speaks to teachers and students doing a great job."
While hitting the coveted 800 score is what most schools aim for, some campuses that just missed that mark celebrated outstanding improvement. Napa Elementary in Northridge posted the largest gain in the district, improving its score by 130 points last year and reaching an API score of 798.
Nearly half of all California schools also met or exceeded the state's goal.
"I applaud the hard work our students, teachers, parents, school employees and administrators are doing to improve - even in the face of severe cuts to school funding," said state Superintendent Tom Torlakson.
"At school after school, and among every significant ethnic group, California's students are performing better than ever."
While more schools than ever can brag about their test scores, an alarmingly high number of campuses in the state and in L.A. were also marked as failing under federal guidelines.
Every fall when the state releases new API scores for schools it also releases Annual Yearly Progress results for campuses, which are used to measure whether schools met federal benchmarks as determined by No Child Left Behind.
The NCLB benchmarks steadily increase every year with a goal of 100 percent of students testing proficient in English and math by 2013-14.
This year, schools had to reach a proficiency rate of 67 percent in English and math to meet the federal goals. High schools also had to have graduation rates of 90 percent.
Nearly three-quarters of LAUSD schools are labeled failing by the federal government under the current guidelines.
Earlier this week, Torlakson requested relief from NCLB requirements from the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Duncan has announced that states can apply for waivers from NCLB if they agree to alternate accountability measures.
Torlakson, however, has said that the current federal waiver proposal "presents problems for California" because it asks states to implement new policies that go beyond NCLB.