On the whole, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has once again made a significant gain in its base Academic Performance Index (API) for 2006.
The District’s Summer 2007 High School Edition newsletter states that the API “was created as part of the California Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999” and incorporates schools’ performance data from the California Standards Tests and high school graduation rates as well as data from other criteria. “The index ranges from 200-1000, with the high-water mark of 800 touted as the state’s target.” The District’s Growth API of 818 for 2006 not only exceeds the state’s target, but also is a 10-point gain over the District’s 2005 API.
Ten of the District’s 17 school sites had 2006 APIs that exceeded 800. Four elementary schools – Point Dume, Roosevelt, Franklin and Webster – had APIs that were over 900. Malibu High School’s API was 830, while the API for Santa Monica High School was 770. Olympic High School, the District’s alternative high school, had an API of 553. Olympic gives students who did not perform well in the District’s traditional high school settings a chance to receive their high school diploma. The District’s Community Day School did not receive an API because it has too few students.
The District’s Chief Academic Officer, Sally Chou, explained to the Mirror that the API scores “are generally a year late,” so that’s why the 2006 base APIs were just recently released. She also mentioned that the “challenge for the District is to bring up the APIs of the subgroups” of students who traditionally have lower APIs than the District’s Caucasian and Asian students. These subgroups include African Americans; American Indian or Alaska Native; Filipino; Hispanic or Latino; Pacific Islander; socio-economically disadvantaged; English learners; and disabled students.
The state, according to Chou, has given “all schools and all students until 2013 to achieve the API target of 800.” District schools are working towards that target by having before-and-after school tutorials, small group instruction, homework help and double or triple periods of English for high school students who are English learners.
Statewide and similar school rankings were also compiled by the state, according to a District press release, so “parents and community members can compare progress at an individual school to statewide progress as well as to schools with similar characteristics. Schools are ranked academically on a scale of 1 to 10 [10 is the highest].” All District schools were ranked in the upper half of all schools in the state. Six District schools – Franklin, Point Dume, Roosevelt and Webster elementary schools, Lincoln Middle School and Malibu High School – received a rank of 10.
For more information, go to the state website, www.cde.ca.gov.
In related news, a recent Newsweek article ranked Malibu High School as the 176th best high school in the country, while Samohi was ranked No. 192.