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Sunday, May 08, 2011
The Fairytale continues: California releases API Scores
The Fairytale continues: California releases Academic Performance Index for 2010 standardized test scores
Standardized testing season has started in California. To coincide with the start of the testing season, last week California released the Academic Performance Index (API) numbers for last year’s California Standards Tests. The API index includes two scores. The first number is the school’s Statewide Rank. That ranking is based on a formula that is calculated based on the schools Base API score. The second number is the Similar Schools Rank. For the calculation of this number, the state ranks a school by comparing them to 100 schools “determined” to be similar based on “certain school, student, and teacher comparisons”.
The problem with the comparison rankings which the state openly acknowledges, but the mainstream media ignores, and it is doubtful the vast majority of the public understands, is that because the state uses a statistical ranking known as a decile system, ten percent of the schools statewide will always be in each (1-10) decile. That means that the because of the nature of the statistical formula, even if every school was performing equally, 10 percent would always be at the top, and ten percent would always be at the bottom, with the rest scattered evenly in ranks of 10. Put another way, regardless of how well California schools perform, under the current decile ranking system, 10 percent must always be at the bottom. If this same system was used as a grading system in a high school honors class, or a high school AP class, or a baccalaureate class, 10 percent of the students would always be at the bottom – or put another way-always failing regardless of how well they were doing.
Eight Orange Unified Schools achieved a top score of 10 ( 10 is high, 1 is low) in one of their rankings: California E.S. – 3/10 ; Chapman Hills E.S.-10/8; Crescent E.S. -10/2; Nohl Canyon E.S.- 10/5; Villa Park E.S. 10/7; El Rancho Charter M.S. 10/6; El Modena H.S. 3/10; and Panorama E.S.- a perfect 10/10.
Panorama, the small private-like Orange Unified school, has often been labeled a “fairytale” school by the watchdog Greater Orange Community Organization. The school only had 252 students included in the 2010 API tests, of those the only statistically significant sub-group was the 155 white students (a student group must number 100 to be statistically counted).
Panorama's student statistics include 3 African American students, 44 Latino, 27 Asian (plus 4 Filipino) students; 28 “English Learners” (don’t assume they are all Spanish speakers at this school!);30 students labeled “Socioeconomically
disadvantaged”; and 16 “Students with Disabilities”. As the education bureaucrats- “Educrats”, continue to look for the “holy grail” magic “best practices” to wipeout the statistically significant racial testing differences that have persisted since the beginning of testing years ago that the educrats euphuistically referred to as the “achievement gap”, that statistical racial, cultural and social "gap" can be easily seen even at this fairytale 10-10 school. Panorama's 27 Asian student's 991 API score was 63 points above the 928 school wide score of the white students; 101 points above the 44 Hispanics 890 score; 96 points above the 890 score of the 30 students labeled “Socioeconomically disadvantaged”; 94 points above the 897 score of the “English Learners”; and a whopping 264 points above 727 score of Panorama’s 16 “students with disabilities”. Yes this is a 10-10 school.
Compare those numbers to Prospect E.S., one of OUSD’s two 1/2 API ranked schools. Prospect’s 264 students fall into 3 statistically significant subgroups; 219 Hispanics; 237 “Socioeconomically disadvantaged” students; and 162 students labeled “English Learners” (yes-at this school it is Spanish). In addition, they have 7 Asians, 25 whites and 45 “Students with Disabilities” – almost 3 times more than Panorama’s 16. Prospect’s school wide 683 API Score is 245 points lower than Panorama’s 928 API Score. However, to call Prospect a failing school, would be akin to calling Panorama a failing school for its Asians scoring 264 points above that schools “Students with Disabilities”.
The truth is simple. The racial, economic and mental divided is real and cannot be bridged as long as we have linguistic, economic, emotional and cultural diversity in California. By bashing public education and public teachers that deal with the everyday realities of that diversity with skewed bureaucratic statistical rankings the educratics are trying to support their very public fairytale quest of finding the magic solution to the “achievement gap”. Like the mythical quests of the past that governmental leaders have wasted scarce resources on- the quest for the Holy Grail, the Fountain of Youth, the Arc of the Covenant, the Seven Cities of Gold, and the Northwest Passage- the 'holy grail" solution to close the achievement gap will continue to allude the governmental educarats as long as they continue to believe in fairytale endings and continue to insist that educators, like the Emperor, wear new clothes.
Panorama’s API Score information-CLICK ON: FAIRYTALE SCHOOL
Prospects API Score information CLICK ON: PROSPECT
Orange Unified API Score information for all schools CLICK ON: