The California Department of Education released its Accountability Progress Report on Wednesday. This year, the Hart District’s API score of 832 is an increase of eight points from last year’s score and places it as a leader in the state among similar union high school districts. The district’s outstanding API score is the result of efforts by teachers, staff and administrators at all district schools. The report lists the performance of California public schools based on two accountability systems, the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
API scores are calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points. These points are then weighted and averaged across all students and all tests for their schools and district, resulting in the schools’ and district’s API. API scores can range from 200 to 1000 with scores above 800 being the goal for all districts and schools.
Academic Performance Indexes are also calculated for large subgroups – ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English learners and students with disabilities – which account for the state’s much discussed “achievement gap.” Most subgroups in the Hart District showed growth in their scores.
The district’s highest API was achieved by the Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School, which scored an API of 941. The Academy is a school of approximately 400 students grades 9 – 12, located on the campus of College of the Canyons.
All Hart District junior high schools scored over the state’s API goal of 800 as did Academy of the Canyons, Canyon, Hart, Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch high schools. Canyon, Golden Valley, and Hart made impressive gains among the comprehensive schools in API scores this year, raising their scores by 13 points or more from last year. Leading the pack was Canyon High School with a gain of 27 points. Bowman High School, an award-winning continuation school, faired extremely well in the alternative model school category with an API gain of 122 points.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the federal accountability system, is determined by a districts or schools progress toward meeting the No Child Left Behind goal that 100 percent of its students score proficient or better in English-language arts and math by 2014. This year, the Hart School District met 33 of its 42 AYP targets.
The AYP target scores rose significantly this year as the AYP requirements push upward toward the goal of 100 percent proficient. Placerita Junior High, Canyon High School, Hart High School, Academy of the Canyons and Learning Post met 100% of their AYP goals. Overall, 72.2 percent of Hart District students scored proficient in English-language arts and 66.2 percent proficient for mathematics.
“Our students have shown excellent growth overall, and our subgroups have also shown progress, but we can do more,” said David LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment. He noted that the school sites have developed strong, research based intervention programs for students and special education faculty has aligned its curriculum to the state standards in a drive to better serve their students with special needs.
LeBarron noted that the continual growth in the district’s API scores and its ability to meet most of its AYP targets does not happen automatically. “It is the result of our teachers, support staff, and administrators working very hard to assess, evaluate and improve their instruction and our students’ performance,” he explained. “Their work, combined with the support we receive from our parents and community, is the core of a school culture that is focused on meeting the academic needs of all of its students.”