Hannah Heineman, Mirror Staff Writer
District officials announced at last Thursday’s School Board meeting that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Academic Performance Index (API) and Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) scores have significantly increased once again.
In 2006 the District’s API, which is determined by the State, was 817, which is an 11-point gain over last year’s 806. The index ranges from 200 to 1,000 and measures both academic performance and growth of schools. The API is actually a summary of the results of various standardized tests taken by students, including the California Standards Tests and the California High School Exit Exam.
Twelve of the District’s sixteen schools showed gains in their 2006 API. Those showing the greatest increase were Santa Monica High School, 25 points; Webster Elementary School, 16 points; Edison Elementary School, 16 points; Grant Elementary School, 15 points; and Cabrillo Elementary School, 10 points. Nine of the District’s schools scored above 800, the statewide target for all schools. Franklin, Point Dume, Roosevelt and Webster Elementary Schools all scored above 900. The two schools that had a decrease were John Adams Middle School, six points, and Will Rodgers Elementary School, four points.
The State also sets API targets for certain subgroups. These groups include African Americans or Latinos, economically disadvantaged, English Learners and students with disabilities. All of these subgroups except the economically disadvantaged showed double-digit gains in 2006. The District’s Director of Educational Services, Maureen Bradford, noted many of these subgroups are scoring below the District average but are growing “at a faster rate than the District overall.”
The District has also met its Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) targets for the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. In order for a school or district to satisfy NCLB targets, their students must have a 95 percent participation rate in state tests used to establish proficiency in the required subject matter. They must have a certain percentage of students who score proficient or above in the English Language Arts or mathematics, when compared to Annual Measurable Objectives. In addition, there must be an API growth of at least one point or a minimum API score of 590 and a high school graduation rate of at least 82.9 percent or an improvement in graduation rate.
The Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) did not receive an AYP because student participation in the required testing was below the required 95 percent. This occurred because many of the school’s parents have requested that their students not participate in the required testing.
School Board member Oscar de la Torre noted, “We’re definitely on the path of going from good to great as a School District.”
Board member Emily Bloomfield observed, “It’s clear if we’re going to bring our API up over time it’s really going to have to be the very systematic work with our economically disadvantaged and minority students.”