Five GUSD schools ahead of API curve

Gilroy teachers to protest budget cuts this week

As California school children are putting down their pencils
after the annual pressure of taking a week’s worth of standardized
state tests, the California Department of Education released its
baseline Academic Performance Index scores Thursday.
As California school children are putting down their pencils after the annual pressure of taking a week’s worth of standardized state tests, the California Department of Education released its baseline Academic Performance Index scores Thursday.

“They need to have a starting gate for all of the reports they’re going to do in August. The significance of this base report is it does exactly that. It establishes the base, or comparison group,” said Bill Conrad, director of assessment and accountability for the SCC.

Schools will have test score targets they need to meet based on these base scores, and how close they are to the “proficient” range of 800, he explained.

The base Academic Performance Index ranking is calculated using the test results of the previous year from the STAR test, or using the California High School Exit Exam for older students. The API is tracked on a scale of 200 to 1,000 that indicates how well students in a school or district performed on the previous spring’s tests, according to the CDE.

The score itself centers on a two-year cycle that gives a “base” score for the first year and a “growth” score in the second year. The growth API, released in September, comes from 2010 spring test scores. The system was originally developed for, and applied to, individual school sites only and is a requirement of the federal law No Child Left Behind that expects all schools to score proficient on state tests by 2014.

The entire school is given a score, which includes its “numerically significant subgroups;” in GUSD they are socioeconomically disadvantaged students, English language learners and students with disabilities.

The highest-achieving schools in Santa Clara County were touted Thursday in the CDE press release, including five Gilroy Unified School District Schools: Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Luigi Aprea Elementary, Eliot Elementary, Las Animas Elementary and Ascencion Solorsano Middle School.

The three top-performing schools in the state are in Santa Clara County: Millikin Elementary, Santa Clara Unified (999), Murdock-Portal Elementary, Cupertino Union (998) and William Faria Elementary, Cupertino Union (997).

GUSD’s top-performing schools are hoping to improve upon their API base scores once the 2010 test results are released in September; Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (892), Luigi Aprea Elementary (852), Eliot Elementary (836), Las Animas Elementary (826), and Solarsano Middle School (814).

Blair Tellers contributed to this report.

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