Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alvarado API Scores Continue to Climb

The annual API, Academic Performance Index, results, released on September 15th 2010, by the California Department of Education, are scores of between 200 and 1,000 assigned to all schools and districts in the state, based on the results of standardized tests taken each spring. A minimum score of 680 is required to meet federal accountability guidelines, and the state’s goal is 800. Alvarado made a 9 point gain with a score of 835 over last years 826.

However Alvarado will be in Program Improvement due to the scores of one subgroup who did not met the required minimum score. All schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) are identified for Program Improvement (PI) under the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA is also known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act which was signed in 2001. This act required states to come up with their own performance testing, thus the API. The Federal part is AYP to make sure that disadvantaged students namely Title I students received an ever improving education. In California, PI is the formal designation for Title I-funded schools and districts that fail to make AYP for two consecutive years. At Alvarado the subgroup that failed this year is not the same subgroup that failed last year, but it still puts Alvarado in Program Improvement. Alvarado will be required to institute programs and policies to improve their scores.

The ESEA (NCLB) requires all states to implement statewide accountability systems based on challenging state standards in reading and mathematics, annual testing for all students in grades three through eight, and annual statewide progress objectives ensuring that all groups of students reach proficiency within 12 years. Assessment results are disaggregated by socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency to ensure that no group is left behind (NCLB). Districts and schools that fail to make AYP toward statewide proficiency goals are subject to improvement and corrective action measures. Keep in mind that only schools which receive federal funding, Title I schools, are subject to Program Improvement. Public schools and charter schools who do not receive federal funding are not in danger of going into Program Improvement even if they do not make their required AYP.