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School rankings are out. How did yours do?

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, May 21st, 2009 at 10:30 am in test scores.


image from CraigOppy’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Today, the state released its re-calulated Academic Performance Index (API) scores based on tests taken in the spring of 2008. These numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise to many schools, since the STAR test scores and ”Growth” APIs were released last fall. 

Each year for some reason, the state education department tinkers with the way it calculates the API, a single, three-digit score based on a battery of tests from the high school exit exam and STAR tests to the English language learner assessments. So the new API numbers, released today, are re-weighted scores based on last year’s results. These numbers will be compared with the 2009 API scores that come out in August or September.

Snore… What’s new, then? The rankings. Each school gets a number from 1 (bad) to 10 (good) based on how it matches up with others in the state. In other words, schools in the top 10 percent are ranked a “10,” and those in the bottom 10 percent are ranked a “1.”

They also receive a “similar schools” ranking, in which they are compared to 99 other schools with similar demographics (parent education levels, ethnicity, percentage of kids who qualify for free lunch, etc.).

Here is a spreadsheet of Oakland schools, sorted by type of school (elementary, middle, high, alternative) and API score, in descending order.

This year, of the 142 Oakland schools that received API scores, 77 – about half – got a “1″ or a “2,” meaning they were in the bottom 20 percent, statewide. Of those schools, nine ranked a “5″ or above when compared to schools with similar demographics.

By contrast, 16 Oakland schools were ranked a “9″ or “10.” Last year, only 13 did so.

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  • Tildenparent

    What does the C for Tilden mean? If it means closed, it should not. It is open for next year. It has quite a high API despite the many challenges it has faced through the years. And the 2nd graders that were tested on the CST were nurtured within the school. Tilden deserves a ranking as much as the next school. The teachers and staff labor with dedication despite the lack of support that they tend to face. We are still kicking!

  • Katy Murphy

    Tilden parent – Here’s what it says on the CDE site:

    “C” means this is a special education school. Statewide and similar schools ranks are not applicable to special education schools.

  • Tildenparent

    About 40% of the children at Tilden are classified as General Education. We are an integrated school. This just highlights our invisibility as a learning community with a unique vision and mission. Tilden has done a commendable job of educating all children. When will that job gain the recognition and support that it merits?

    Thanks for the clarification. And thanks for the role that you have had in bringing light to the issues that our school has been facing.

  • livegreen

    Why did the scores need to be re-calculated?
    Shouldn’t the 2008-2009 be out soon anyway?

  • Katy Murphy

    There’s a different reason every year. Sometimes state testing officials decide to give more weight to certain scores, or they add a new test. This year, it’s because the state stopped giving the California Achievement Test in 2008 — apparently, because it was cut from the budget.

    In other words, they have calculated the 2008 results in exactly the same way that they’ll calculate the 2009 API so that the two can be compared.

    Of course, this makes it harder to get a true picture of a school’s performance over time.

  • Judy

    Katy: You had a good article in the Tri-Valley Times. Will you be citing any of it in your blog

  • Katy Murphy

    Do you mean the short profile of Smith from earlier in the week? If so, I linked to it from this blog post. (The link is on Smith’s name, at the top.)

  • Judy

    No, the one that compared San Ramon to Oakland

  • Katy Murphy

    Oh, sorry. Wrong topic! Here it is. There’s a chart at the bottom of the story that looks at various East Bay districts:

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_12425057