Many area schools raise state test scores |

Many area schools raise state test scores

About half of Nevada County’s schools are eligible for awards from the state for improved test scores.

But this year, there’s no money because of state budget cuts — just the satisfaction of making gains on the Academic Performance Index.

Grass Valley School District schools scored lowest overall, but that’s compared to extraordinarily high scores in the rest of the county, said Jon Byerrum, superintendent of the district.

The scores are up from last year (see chart on page A8).

Not only did students overall improve on the test, but so did the English Language learners, noted Byerrum. Some schools – like Grass Valley’s – have subgroups like English language learners, whose scores must increase along with rest of the students’ scores.

“We try to raise the bar for all kids,” Byerrum said. “The state doesn’t want you to be leaving some group behind.”

More than half the students at Hennessy School, for example, are counted as socioeconomically disadvantaged, a high percentage for Nevada County but not the state.

The Academic Performance Index combines results from the California Standards Test and the Stanford 9 test, said Bob Bernstein, who runs the unit at the state Department of Education that calculates the index.

The Department of Education wants to see all schools achieve a score of 800 or more. Those that do, and show significant gains from the previous year, have been eligible for money from the state two years. (Schools whose scores are high and hold steady are ineligible.)

Oak Tree Charter in North San Juan had the lowest score in the county: 585 this year, down from 800 last year. Results from small schools should be interpreted with caution, the state department warned, since one or two students’ performance can drastically alter results.

Vantage Point Charter School, another small elementary school, had low scores: 621 this year, down from 642 last year.

Scores for the high schools won’t be available until December. The district is correcting demographic information for its schools, according to the state Department of Education’s Web site.

The single-number score giving schools a rank between one and 10 is expected in the spring.

2001-02 Academic Performance Index Growth Report

SCHOOL DISTRICT 2002 API 2001 API Met Eligible

target for award


Chicago Park Elementary 827* 821* Yes No


Clear Creek Elementary 742* 817* No No


Grass Valley Charter 791 771 Yes Yes

Hennessy Elementary 766 734 Yes Yes

Scotten Elementary 734 698 Yes Yes

Lyman Gilmore Middle 698 699 No No

Bell Hill Elementary 734* 738* No No


Deer Creek Elementary 812 802 Yes No

Seven Hills Intermediate 834 836 Yes No

Gold Run Elementary 831* 808* Yes Yes

Nevada City Charter (Alt)

Nevada City Elementary 821* 778* Yes Yes


Bear River High

Nevada Union High

Sierra Mountain High (Alter)


Alta Sierra 864 873 Yes No

Cottage Hill 864 837 Yes Yes

Pleasant Ridge 853 850 Yes No

Magnolia 844 832 Yes Yes


Williams Ranch 768 747 Yes Yes

Pleasant Valley 824 828 Yes No


Ready Springs 784 801 No No

Vantage Point Charter 642* 621* Yes Yes


Nevada City School of the Arts

Yuba River Charter

Bitney Springs Charter High 800* 817* Yes No

Golden Valley Charter

Grizzly Hill

Oak Tree Charter 662* 585* Yes Yes

River Oak Charter

Village 774* 751* Yes Yes

Woodlands Charter


Union Hill 810 824 Yes No

Highland Oaks 824* 889* Yes No

Union Hill Charter 851* 780* Yes Yes

* This API is calculated for a small school, defined as having between 11 and 99 valid STAR test scores. APIs based on small numbers of students are less reliable and therefore should be interpreted with caution.

Awards Notes – The “Awards Eligible” column requires at least five points schoolwide growth and at least four points growth for each numerically significant subgroup.

Source: California Department of Education Policy and Evaluation Division

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