Explanatory Notes for the 1999-2000 Academic Performance Index (API) Growth Report
These Explanatory Notes are designed to assist educators and other interested parties in interpreting the 1999-2000 Academic Performance Index (API) Growth Report. The Explanatory Notes provide details with respect to Academic Performance Index (API) calculations, growth target calculations, growth calculations, and similar schools ranking procedures. The Notes also explain the criteria that were applied to determine whether or not schools met their growth targets and whether or not they were eligible for the staff and school awards programs.
The Public Schools Accountability Act The API is the centerpiece of the statewide accountability system in California public education. The Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) of 1999 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 1999), requires that the California Department of Education (CDE) annually calculate APIs for California public schools, including charter schools, and publish school rankings based on these indices. The PSAA also requires the establishment of a minimum five-percent annual API growth target for each school as well as an overall statewide API performance target for all schools. A school that meets either API growth or performance targets may be eligible for awards under the following three programs:
On November 9, 1999, the State Board of Education (SBE):
Eventually, the API will incorporate a number of indicators; however, for 1999 the API consisted solely of results from the Stanford 9 norm-referenced assessment that is administered in conjunction with the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. Other legally-required indicators were unavailable for inclusion in 1999.
Certain core elements appear throughout the 1999-2000 API Growth Report. They include:
STAR 2000 Percent Tested
Number of Students Included in the API
rankings (NPRs). In some instances,
APIs are also calculated for student subgroups at a school in order to
ascertain whether the school meets the "comparable improvement"
criterion (see page 6). For details on the calculation of the 1999 API,
please consult the document titled 1999 Base Year Academic Performance
Index (API), which is accessible through the API web site at
For schools with grade configurations that include both grades 8 and 9, the API for these schools was the average of the APIs for the two grade configuration segments weighted by the number of pupils with valid scores in the two segments. For example, for a K-12 school, the API was the weighted average of the APIs for grades 2-8 and for grades 9-11. This procedure is necessary because the structure of the test varies between grades 2-8 and 9-11.
1999-2000 Growth Target
1999-2000 Similar Schools
Schools meet the comparable improvement target if all numerically
significant ethnic/racial and socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups meet their API subgroup
targets, which in most cases is 80 percent of the schoolwide 1999-2000 API growth target. For a
full discussion, see the section on "Subgroups, " beginning on this page.
Structure of the Report
List of Schools
presented alphabetically by district and by type (elementary, middle, and
high); in the district list, the schools are presented alphabetically by type.
Schools with non-traditional grade configurations, e.g., 7-12, have been placed into the school type that they chose when they were assigned a CDS (County-District-School) code.
The CDE did not calculate APIs for:
By law, these schools will be part of alternative accountability systems.
In addition, a school must test at least 65 percent of students in each Stanford 9 content area in both 1999 and 2000 in order to receive an API growth calculation. This was done to ensure the statistical stability of API growth calculations, which will be used to determine whether schools are eligible for awards or subject to interventions.
The PSAA defines a "numerically significant ethnic or socioeconomically disadvantaged
subgroup" as a subgroup "that constitutes at least 15 percent of a school's total pupil
population and consists of at least 30 pupils." Also, in light of the sizable
enrollments at many California schools, the State Board of Education has adopted an additional
criterion. If a subgroup defined by ethnicity or socioeconomic disadvantage constitutes at least
100 pupils, i.e., at least 100 pupils with valid STAR scores, that subgroup is "numerically
significant" and required to demonstrate comparable improvement, even if it does not constitute
15 percent of the school population. These numerical criteria (15 percent and 30 pupils, or 100
pupils) will be computed on the basis of the number of pupils with valid Stanford 9 scores for that
The school is responsible for demonstrating comparable improvement only for those subgroups that are numerically significant in both 1999 and 2000. Ethnic/racial subgroups include the following:
According to the definition adopted by the SBE, the "socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroup" consists of pupils who meet either one of two criteria:
A pupil who is a member of the socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroup is
also a member of one of the racial/ethnic subgroups. Therefore, it is possible that the total
percentage of students in all numerically significant subgroups at a school may exceed 100.
To determine whether or not a numerically significant subgroup demonstrated comparable improvement, it is necessary to compute the 1999 API (Base) and the 2000 API (Growth) for each subgroup. Under the definition adopted by the State Board of Education, "comparable improvement" requires that each numerically significant subgroup must meet or exceed 80 percent of the 1999-2000 schoolwide growth target. The 1999-2000 subgroup target was calculated by first multiplying the schoolwide target by .8 and then rounding the product to the nearest whole number.
There were four minor exceptions to this rule:
1 For schools with grade configurations that include both grades 8 and 9: The subgroup APIs are determined in the same manner as the schoolwide API (see page 3).
the subgroup API to 800, the subgroup target equaled the distance to 800.
School Demographic Characteristics
Regarding information taken from CBEDS:
Regarding background characteristics derived from the Stanford 9 student answer document:
the lowest grade at a school. It is used as a background characteristic only. The criterion for excluding a score from the API calculation is district mobility, i.e., any student who began continuous enrollment in the district during the year tested.
The School Demographic Characteristics that appear on this report will be used in the formation of the new similar schools comparison groups for the 2000 API (Base) Report.