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Academic performance scores released

Comparative school rankings and beginning of new reporting cycle come as month of standardized testing wraps up.

May 10, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

As state standardized testing wraps up this week, the California Department of Education has given local school officials something new to chew on, releasing base academic performance scores and comparative school rankings.

The base Academic Performance Index scores — which mirror those reported last fall as part of the 2009-10 testing data — are important because they will serve as the benchmark by which all school testing progress will be measured when the new results are announced this fall.

In a statement accompanying the baseline scores last week, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the information “provides parents, schools, educators, and the general public valuable insight into how schools are performing when measured against others.”

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The rankings are two-pronged and based on a school’s base API score and how it compares to 100 campuses with similar demographics.

Local schools consistently finished in the top 20th percentile. Seventeen Glendale Unified schools earned a 10 — the highest ranking possible — in either the statewide or the similar-schools rankings. The top performing Glendale schools included Verdugo Woodlands, Mountain Avenue, Monte Vista elementary schools, Rosemont Middle School and Clark Magnet High School.

Burbank Unified followed closely behind with seven schools logging rankings of nine, including Providencia, Stevenson, Walt Disney elementary schools, John Muir Middle School, and Burbank and Burroughs high schools.

The newly released data mark the start of the 2010-11 API reporting cycle in which schools are tasked with hitting new academic targets as outlined in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

State standardized testing began in mid-April and wraps up this week.

This year, 67% of elementary and middle school students at each school site must score proficient in English-language arts, and 68% of students must score proficient in mathematics. The new targets represent an increase of about 11% in each category.

If any subgroup of students misses the federal benchmark in two consecutive years, their campus is placed on “program improvement,” a designations that brings stricter oversight with the goal of boosting scores.

Glendale Unified has four schools on program improvement, including Roosevelt and Toll middle schools, and Hoover and Glendale high schools. Luther Middle School is the sole Burbank Unified campus currently in program improvement.

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