The California Department of Education has released its Accountability Progress Report (APR) and California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) scores today. The APR lists the performance of California public schools based on two accountability systems, the state’s API and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). This year, the Hart District’s Academic Performance Index (API) score of 840 ranks the Hart School District amongst the highest performing union school districts in LA County and the state. The district’s outstanding API score was the result of efforts by teachers, staff and administrators at all district schools. Even though this year’s API score reflects a small decline of three points from the 2012 score of 843, it is still well above the state goal of 800.
The Hart District’s CAHSEE passing rate for first time test takers is 93% for math and 92% for English Language Arts (ELA), which also outpaces county and state passing rates. The statewide CAHSEE passing rates for first time test takers are 84% for math and 83% for ELA.
API scores are calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points. These points are then weighted and averaged across all students and all tests for their schools and district, resulting in the school’s and district’s API. API scores can range from 200 to 1000 with scores above 800 being the goal for all districts and schools.
The district’s highest API was achieved by the Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School, which scored an API of 943. The Academy is a school of approximately 400 students grades 9 – 12, located on the campus of College of the Canyons. Rancho Pico Junior High School and Rio Norte Junior High School also scored over 900, with 921 and 904 respectively.
All Hart District junior high schools scored over the state’s API goal of 800 as did four of the six comprehensive high schools: Saugus, Valencia, Hart and West Ranch. Golden Valley and Canyon High Schools fell just short of the goal of 800, however, still scored above the state average.
The largest component of the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability system is determined by a districts or schools progress toward meeting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s goal that 100 percent of its students score proficient or better in English-language arts (ELA) and math by 2014. For this reporting period 89% of all students are expected to be proficient in both testing areas. The small reduction in API scores of some Hart District schools this year reflect the challenge of meeting what many educators consider to be impossible proficiency requirements for certain large sub-groups.
California has filed a request for waiver, like other states from the requirements and it is still pending according to State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson. “While we’re waiting for the flexibility we need, we’re not going to allow a flawed system to distract us from the work we’re doing to help schools improve.”