State says GHS didn’t test enough students to get a score

State says GHS didn't test enough students to get a score

Only four in five Gilroy High School 10th graders took the state
standardized science exam last year, costing the school a score on
the a key state ranking system.
Only four in five Gilroy High School 10th graders took the state standardized science exam last year, costing the school a score on the a key state ranking system.

To the dismay of school administrators, GHS’s marks were mysteriously absent from the school district’s recently released report card for the Academic Performance Index – the state’s measure of student proficiency in math, English and a few other subjects. According to a spokesman with the California Department of Education, “the school failed to test at least 85 percent of 10th grade students in life science. They only tested 82 percent.” The state requires 85 percent of students to take all the relevant spring-administered tests to obtain a score. It was unclear what ramifications a lack of an API score will have on how the state and federal governments treat the school.

Superintendent Deborah Flores and her staff spent Tuesday morning trying to figure out why the high school did not meet the minimum testing criteria. When she first realized GHS was missing its score, Flores said she suspected the missing scores had “something to do with participation rate” on the science portion of the exam, and she hoped to get to the bottom of the problem by the end of the week. However, neither Flores, nor Jim Pisano, the district’s director of assessment, returned phone calls or e-mails Thursday.

Scores on the Index range from 200 to 1,000, with a score of 875 meaning the school’s students are considered proficient in the tested subjects, according the state’s Web site. The district’s goal is to have each school score 800 points, Flores said. Last year, GHS scored a 723. A lack of testing data precludes the state from calculating a “reliable” score, according to the California Department of Education Web site.

Flores said Tuesday that she, the district’s director of assessment, and the assistant superintendent of educational services had never seen a blank column under a school’s API before.

“I hope it’s an error and that we can appeal it and get it corrected,” Flores said Tuesday. “Obviously we want to make sure Gilroy High School has an API.”

Gilroy Community Day School, which enrolled only 14 students last year, also did not receive a score because in 2009, the school had fewer than 11 valid test scores, according to state data. In 2008, the school, which serves students with emotional and behavioral problems, scored a 382.

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