June 14, 2012—The California Department of Education (CDE) today has made available the data for the School Ranks for both statewide and similar schools, the 2011 Base Academic Performance Index (API), and Growth Targets on the CDE API Reports Web page. (To find the information in one central location, go to the API Reports Web page and click on the County Reports link and submit your county. All the districts with their schools will be available on that one page.)
A school’s Base API score plus its growth target becomes that school’s goal for its next Growth API score, which will be released in September. The release of the Base API signals the beginning of the 2011-12 reporting cycle. The Base API is calculated using the test results of the previous year while the Growth API is calculated using the test results of the current year.
Ten percent of California’s elementary schools, for example, earn a statewide ranking of 10, meaning they had higher API scores than 90 percent of the state’s elementary schools. The same number of schools earn a 1, meaning their scores were in the bottom 10 percent.
Why so late? State education department data analysts had extra work to do this year in adjusting the API scores, said Jenny Singh, administrator of academic accountability for the department. A new state regulation defines when a student is “continuously enrolled” in a public school — and therefore, when their scores should be counted in that school’s results. Another establishes what to do with the scores of students who transfer, midyear, to alternative schools.
Before, local districts made those determinations themselves, Singh said. Now, it will be consistent from district to district. The school ranks compare each school to all other schools of the same type (elementary, middle or high school) as well as to 100 schools with similar opportunities and challenges. To determine which schools are similar, the state looks at factors such as parent education levels, low-income families, race and ethnicity, English learners and average class sizes.
The 2011 Base API report will be posted on the California Department of Education’s website:http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/apireports.asp