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Report: Schools improve on API

Schools in Grass Valley are doing well to improve the academic standards of students coming from low-income backgrounds compared to schools elsewhere in California, said Jon Byerrum, superintendent of Grass Valley School District, on Tuesday.

The California Department of Education released Tuesday its analysis of the 2006 Base Academic Performance Index results. The analysis of the scores, which were released in the fall, was done to help schools set goals for academic improvement.

The analysis in part compares the performance of different demographic groups, giving schools targets for improving instruction for groups that are faring poorly.



“In spring, (the API scores) are recalibrated and re-released to show growth targets for the upcoming school year and also to show the performance of subgroups within each school,” Byerrum said.

School officials have seen the figures but they were not immediately available to The Union.




Nevada County schools in general have high API scores, Byerrum said. He credited the “good schools, hardworking students and a fairly educated and involved population” for the superior test scores.

“Grass Valley School District has seen a growth in API scores ever since the test has been given,” Byerrum said.

Statewide, the base index for elementary schools in 2006 is 758 points on a 1,000-point scale, up 8 points from 2005. Middle school and high school median scores showed similar gains of 10 points and 7 points, respectively.

Less than a third of California schools have met the state’s achievement goals, but a majority of them continue to make progress, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said.

“California students, by any measurement, continue to make academic progress. Public education in the state of California is on the right track,” O’Connell said Tuesday as he released the yearly index scores and improvement targets.

Critics say the state’s API system is too complicated and allows failing schools to hide poor performance because their growth target changes each year. California Business for Education Excellence, a lobbying group pushing for tougher standards, said the API system should be scrapped.

It would take some schools 50 years to achieve grade-level proficiency with API’s goals, said the group’s president, Jim Lanich.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. To contact Staff Writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@ theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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