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    In Depth

    52% of LB Schools Meet Academic Performance Index Growth Targets...And That's Better Than Statewide Results; We Link To Detailed Data For Every LB School

    (October 29, 2004) -- The good news is LB Unified School District schools exceeded the percentage of state schools that met Sacramento-set Academic Performance Index (API) "growth targets."

    The bad news is fewer than half of CA's schools met their "growth targets" and just over half of LBUSD schools did.

    Detailed data released by the CA Dept. of Education -- and listed for every LBUSD school by on a link below -- show:

    • 52% of LBUSD schools met their API "growth target"; statewide, 48% did.

    • 21% of LBUSD schools had APIs that fell or stayed the same; statewide, this was 32%.

    • 26% of LBUSD schools had APIs that increased although some of their API growth targets were not met; statewide, this was 20%.

    • A number of LBUSD Elementary Schools exceeded their schoolwide API growth targets and improved further: Fremont (875 from 862); Gant (913, from 889); Kettering (809 from 801); Longfellow (839 from 835); Lowell (914, the highest of any LBUSD Elementary School, from 889); Naples (893 from 876); Newcomb (816 from 811); and Twain (834 from 826). (Some of these schools didn't sshow comparable improvement growth for numerically significant subgroups; see API explanatory details on link, below)

    • Other Elementary Schools failed to meet their schoolwide API growth targets...and some declined: Barton (675 from 680); Bixby (723 from 721); Bryant (737 from 739); Buffum (737 from 738); Burbank (714 from 722); Edison (679 from 685); Henry (700 from 713); Homlmes (606 from 612); Lafayette (698 from 718); Madison (793 from 798); McKinley (650 from 650); Riley (690 from 695); Sutter (694 from 694); and Whittier (691 from 686).

    • 6 of 15 LBUSD Middle Schools failed to meet their schoolwide API growth targets: Bancroft, Constellation Community, Demille, Jefferson, Rogers and Stephens

    • With a few exceptions noted below, every LBUSD High School met its API schoolwide growth target...and all but two (Lakewood & Poly) also did so for comparable groups. The CA Academy of Math and Science posted a sizzling 944 API (up from 929); Lakewood High: 702 (up from 664); Wilson: 699 (up from 674); LB Poly: 697 (up from 686); Millikan: 690 (up from 660); Jordan High: 559 (from 529); CabrilloL 538 (from 502). (A small number of other LB schools with lower 2004 APIs didn't have 2003 APIs or had other factors preventing a growth measurement).

    To view a complete list of API Growth Reports for LBUSD schools -- and detailed data for every school (just click on the school's name) -- click 2004 LBUSD API Growth Report.

    API and growth are measured using scores ranging from 200 to 1,000. Sacramento has set 800 as the statewide performance "target." Each school's growth target is 5% of the difference between that school's API Base (released last March) and the statewide performance target of 800. (Schools with a 2003 API of 781-799 have a one point growth target; schools with APIs of 800+ must maintain them at 800+).

    Schools are supposed to meet their API growth targets both schoolwide and among all numerically significant subgroups at the school (which must show comparable improvement, basically 80% of the 2003-04 schoolwide growth target). A "numerically significant ethnic or socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroup" is a subgroup "that constitutes at least 15 percent of a school's total pupil population and consists of at least 30 pupils"; if an ethnicity or socioeconomic disadvantaged subgroup constitutes at least 100 pupils, it's required to show comparable improvement even if it isn't 15% of the school population. (Details on "comparable improvement" are on the CA Dept. of Education Explanatory Notes for API page.)

    API results are based on the 2004 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) and CA High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) exam. 80% of the API for Elementary and Middle schools is based on the CA Standards tests (CSTs), while nearly 90% of the High School API comes from the standards tests and the CA High School Exit Examination.

    The API stems from CA's 1999 "Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA)" which required the CA Department of Education to calculate annual APIs for public schools, including charter schools, and publish school rankings based on the APIs.

    LBUSD spokesman Dick Van Der Laan told, "For the second year in a row, LBUSD execeeded statewide performance on the API. A majority of our schools also met growth targets among all subgroups, a significant accomplishment for our school district which serves America's most diverse large city."

    LBUSD was awarded the 2003 Broad Prize as America's best urban school district.

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell responded to data indicating that fewer than half of CA's schools met Sacramento-set growth targets by stating in a written release, "Frankly, this is unacceptable and I know, and educators around the state know, that we can do better. It is time to rededicate ourselves and redouble our efforts at teaching California's rigorous standards."

    O' Connell continued, "The good news is that California's accountability system is working as it was meant to. By shedding light on the achievement of all students at all schools, it helps us focus our attention on what needs to be done to improve student achievement."

    He added, "While these latest numbers are cause for concern, I know our schools are working hard," he said. "Educators across the state are meeting to seriously discuss their results, and are striving to do what it takes to rebuild the momentum that is crucial to improving student achievement."

    As previously reported by, CA has also begun reporting on the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of schools under federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Superintendent O'Connell called CA's API "a fairer and more accurate measurement of how our schools are doing as compared to the status model under NCLB. The federal model expects schools and students to jump over an arbitrary achievement bar, and success or failure is determined solely on whether that bar has been passed."

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