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API Tests for LA Unified Improve Slightly, State Scores Fall

Vanessa Romo | August 29, 2013

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SLOW BUT STEADY(4)Los Angeles Unified made a marginal improvement on California standards tests while for the first time in at least a decade, the state score dropped, according to results released today by the state Department of Education (CDE).

For LA Unified students, the annual Academic Performance Index (API) shows a three point increase over last year, to 749 from 746, as the state score dropped to 789 from 791.

“For the second-largest school district in the nation to outpace nearly all urban districts in California in the API is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “I’m tremendously proud of our administrators, students, and teachers for achieving this result while the District remained in the throes of a devastating budget crisis” according to a press release issued by LAUSD.

API scores range from 200 to 1,000 points, with a goal of 800 for every student. The scores are based on the results of several standardized state tests, including the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program and the High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

Despite the gain for LA Unified, other numbers betrayed the upward trend.

In all, only 247 schools – about 36 percent of the district’s total — hit the target 800, about the same as the year before. The large majority, 222 schools, are elementary schools, leaving just 16 middle and 9 high schools that met targets. That’s better than year when only 6 high schools reached 800.

Despite the strong performance of 46 percent of LAUSD elementary schools meeting the target, it still feel short of the statewide level of 56 percent.

The 3-point gain for LA Unified was smallest in 10 years, breaking a five-year streak of double-digit advances. Combined with the state performance, the district drew as close as it has ever been to the statewide score, still lagging behind by 40 points.

The 2013 results showed other notable gains for LAUSD. Scores for English learners jumped 28 points, the highest gain in history for the district, and 27 points above the statewide figure. Scores for students with disabilities grew by 17 points, versus 5 points across California. Economically disadvantaged students improved 8 points in the District, compared with 5 points statewide.

For the first time ever, API scores decreased for Asian and white students by 2 and 4 points, respectively. At the same time, African-American students improved by 1 point and Hispanic students saw a 4 point gain.

LA Unified’s improvement was second biggest among California’s urban school districts, traling only San Diego Unified, which grew 9 points.

The Santa Ana Unified School District, formerly lead by Thelma Melendez, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s education czar, dropped 13 points, to 742 from 755.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 11.27.17 AM


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