Most Viewed Stories
API test results mixed
Glenn County schools received a mixed-bag of results on state test scores, according to the recently released 2012 Academic Performance Index report.
Five schools scored above the state's target of 800 points, although one of the highest performing schools slipped 26 points from where it was in 2011.
Plaza Elementary climbed 18 points, from 880 in 2011 to 898.
Princeton Elementary's score of 834 was a 20-point gain over last year's score of 814.
Lake climbed to 875 from 856 in 2011.
Capay dropped from 873 in 2011 to 847.
Walden Academy, the new charter school in Willows, debuted with an API score of 801.
The California Department of Education's Academic Performance Index is a single score that ranges from a low 200 to 1,000 that indicates how well students in a school or district performed on the previous year's tests.
Statewide averages showed elementary schools API scores grew by 7 points to 815, middle schools by 14 points to 792, and high schools by 11 points to 752, according to the state Department of Education.
The scores are used as a benchmark of academic performance and growth in schools.
Princeton High School jumped 89 points, from 686 in 2011 to 775.
Among the larger school districts, Orland Unified continued its show of steady growth.
Fairview Elementary test scores jumped seven points from 741 in 2011 to 748.
Mill Street Elementary jumped 21 points, from 741 to 762, and Orland High School jumped 11 points, from 719 to 730.
"Scoring the highest in the county among the larger schools two years in a row is nice," said Assistant Superintendent Jim Scheele. "We will continue to work with our students to make sure they stay on the right path to learning."
Although Willows Unified didn't achieve the gains they had hoped, the district is committed to pursuing academic improvement for all students, officials said.
Willows Intermediate School was the district's shining star this year, jumping 17 points from 746 in 2011 to 763, officials said.
Murdock Elementary slid one point, from 733 to 732.
Willows High School dropped 26 points from 699 to 673.
Hamilton Unified also failed to meet its growth targets.
Hamilton Elementary slid 14 points from 720 in 2011 to 706 in 2012.
Hamilton High School dropped six points, from 739 in 2011 to 733.
Although the API is meant as a measure of academic growth, it is not intended to track the school's growth over several years.
A better comparison is to look at whether a school or district or even a sub-group within a school consistently meets growth targets or to consider the amount of growth year to year, school officials said.
All subgroups , ethnic groups, English learners, students with disabilities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged must meet growth targets for a school to meet its overall API growth goals.
While Murdock Elementary School in Willows dropped one point in API, it showed marginal gain growth for it's English Language Learners.
"While our score is not what we hoped for, we have reason to celebrate some victory," said Murdock Principal Holly McLaughlin.
McLaughlin said the school will continue to work with its consultant on coaching teachers in curriculum that is aligned to state standards so that they can cover the breadth of those standards in a school year.
"The biggest change has to occur in the classroom," McLaughlin said.
Parental involvement is also vital for schools to achieve positive growth.
"The best thing a parent can do is read to their children every night," McLaughlin said.
Because API scores measure how well students have mastered the California State Content Standards on a particular day, administrative issues can, and often do, have impacts on API results.
CK Price, in the Orland Unified School District, dropped 19 points in API, from 738 in 2011 to 719, due to minor testing issues, officials said.
"This was more of an administrative issue than a learning issue," Scheele said. "All we can do is take a look at the issue and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Even changes in student representation have an impact on test scores, officials said.
Within the API's two-year cycle, the students represented in each year are different.
For example, in a K—6 school, you have a testing group of second through sixth graders present in year one, but in year two the second graders are new and the sixth graders from year one are gone.
Changes in student representation typically hit small districts the hardest, such as Stony Creek Joint Unified.
Elk Creek Elementary School, for example, dropped 109 points from 671 in 2011 to 562 in 2012.
Indian Valley dropped 180 points from 784 to 605.
Elk Creek Junior-Senior High dropped 63 points from 717 in 2011 to 654.
As Glenn County school districts works to improve student performance on Standardized testing, districts are also working toward implementation of the Common Core Standards that will be state-mandated beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
The new standards will incorporate technology and higher order thinking, school officials said.
Scheele said Common Core State Standards should provide a much better overall picture of how a student is doing academically.
It is more uniformly structured as students move from grade to grade and provides an assessment that is much more well rounded.
"It's more grade-level specific," Scheele said.
Most districts have taken the first steps to implement the new standards and plan to be ready when the assessment tests begin in the second year.
According to Common Core State Standards web site, by emphasizing required achievements, the standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers and states to determine how achievement goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed.
This is something many school administrators and teachers feel the current standards and testing program does not provide.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.