Most Viewed Stories
Majority of schools improve API scores
Two area schools made impressive jumps in state test scores, according to the recently released 2012 Academic Performance Index report.
Elkins Elementary School in Paskenta increased its score by 107 points — from 688 in 2011 to 795 in 2012 — just five points off the state's performance target of 800.
Flournoy Elementary School's 2012 jump put it over the 800 target at 857, an increase of 63 points from 2011.
The California Department of Education's Academic Performance Index is a composite of several tests taken at public schools throughout the year and are used as a benchmark of academic performance and growth in schools.
Although it saw a 19-point drop, Richfield Elementary School remains one of the top scoring schools in Tehama County, with a 2012 score of 865, well-above the state's target.
Richfield Elementary School District Superintendent Rich Grifford said he thinks one of the things the district does to keep the scores high is focusing on the standards and the students' overall achievement.
"When we see a student who is not making needed grades, we provide intervention. We believe a cornerstone to our success is a leveled reading time where every student is given instruction at their reading level one hour a day," Gifford explained.
Kirkwood Elementary is another area school that remains well over the state target with a score of 870, an increase over the 2011 score of 856.
Corning Union Elementary School District Superintendent Catherine Reimer describes the state testing as "a measure on one particular day of how well students have mastered the California State Content Standards."
All of the schools in her district made improvements except for Olive View Elementary, which dropped from 805 in 2011 to 787, and Rancho Tehama Elementary that saw an 18-point drop to 746.
"My issue with the state's testing is that some students naturally don't perform well in testing and the stakes are so high," she said.
West Street Elementary API test scores jumped from 742 to 779, but remained below the state target, as did Maywood Middle School which had an increase of 39 points to 783.
Woodson Elementary School stayed above the state target with a score of 840, a 34 point rise from 2011's 806.
"I'm very pleased with the results," Reimer said. "Our teachers and students have worked very hard and although there were a couple drops, we continue to improve overall."
Corning Union High School District Superintendent John Burch said the district's staff used the word "disappointed" in describing Corning High School and Centennial High School's test results.
Corning High School saw a drop of 15 points, from 724 in 2011 to 709 in 2012.
Centennial's drop was 21 points, giving the school as score of 486.
"Our staff has worked so hard to see improvements. This was simply a disappointing result," Burch said.
Like Reimer, Burch doesn't believe the state's testing program is the best way to measure what schools and students are doing.
"But, it is the one being used, so it must have some good things, although I doesn't look at the whole picture of what makes a school good," he said.
Burch said the district is already making adjustments this year that will help students with Academic Index Performance score.
"But that isn't the sole purpose of these changes. Our focus is on what is best for the students overall," he said. "In the math department, we have made adjustments to student placement and provided additional support to the students who need it. We have done the same in English for the English Language Leaners."
Vina Elementary School, a part of the Los Molinos Unified School District, dropped 42 points, scoring 796, just four points below the state target.
Los Molinos High School gained 29 points with a score of 757, and Los Molinos Elementary School scored 839, a drop of 19 points from 2011.
Both Burch and Reimer said the look forward to 2014-15 when the state implements the Common Core State Standards in place of the current testing program.
"This new program is much larger in breadth and is based on a students mastery of a subject and where a student needs assistance," Reimer stated. Burch said his district is already working on the transition into the new standards.
"Common Core State Standards gives a much better overall picture of how a student is doing academically," he explained. "It is a lot more uniformly structured as students move from grade to grade and provides an assessment that is much more well rounded."
According to Common Core State Standards website, by emphasizing required achievements, the standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how those goals should be reached and what additional topics should be a addressed.
This is something many school administrators and teachers feel the current standards and testing program does not provide.
Gifford said the Common Core State Standards focus on college and career readiness, and emphasis on higher order thinking skills is a necessary component to the education system.