API scores: Schools earn passing grade | TheUnion.com

API scores: Schools earn passing grade

California’s most-watched metric of school performance is out of the bag.

Nevada County schools released results from the Academic Performance Index (API), which measures a school’s academic improvement by combining results from standardized STAR tests and the high school exit exam.

It was a banner year for the high school district, which achieved a score of 801, its highest ever. California sets a goal of 800 for all schools, and the district had barely missed the mark with a 799 last year.

“We’re really excited,” said Nevada Joint Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Trisha Dellis. “But we don’t want to get complacent.”

Statewide, the average API score in 2009 was 754. The average among high schools was 714.

The district will also be looking closely at a metric called the “similar schools index,” which classifies and compares schools by their demographics.

Among elementary school districts, which tend to score higher on the test, Nevada City School District topped the county with an API score of 858. Pleasant Ridge Union Elementary School District in southern Nevada County came in a close second, with 857, and Union Hill scored third at 840.

The top three individual school scores were Nevada City Elementary, with a score of 928, Ghidotti Early College High School, with 920, and Alta Sierra Elementary, with 885.

API’s scale ranges from 200 to 1000. Schools are challenged to grow to a certain “target” score each year. If a school persistently misses the target, state officials can take over.

The system was developed by the California Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999.

Administrators at the individual schools will be meeting this week to analyze the data with teachers, Dellis said. Watch The Union and http://www.TheUnion.com for full results from the API.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.

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