California’s 2008-09 API scores – that three-digit number commonly used to rate schools and districts — came out this morning. On a scale of 200 (low) to 1,000 (high), the Oakland school district scored a 695, about 19 points higher than last year.
The good news: I counted 29 Oakland schools whose Academic Performance Index (API) scores went up by 50 points or more in the last year. Futures Elementary School, a small, redesigned school on East Oakland’s Lockwood campus, pictured above, improved by a cool 118 to reach 701. East Oakland Pride on the old Webster campus made a 112-point gain. And Think College Now – a majority-Latino school in Fruitvale with an English learner population of more than 60 percent – saw is API shoot up by 80 points, to 848.
On the other hand: The ”achievement gap” between Oakland schoolchildren of various racial/ethnic groups narrowed ever-so-slightly this year, but it’s still broad enough to comfortably fit a double-wide. The disparities were enormous in 2003, and they remain much the same today. For example: The white-black gap is 272 points, and the Asian-black gap is 177. On average, the district’s Latino students have made greater progress than their white, black and Asian peers, but the average API for Asian students is still 147 points higher than the average score for Latinos.
No Child Left Behind: Six Oakland schools entered a probationary status known as Program Improvement after failing to hit the No Child Left Behind reading, writing and math proficiency goals for two straight years: Global Family (small school at Jefferson Elementary campus); Howard Elementary, in the East Oakland hills; E.C. Reems Academy, a charter elementary school near Castlemont’s campus; Rise Community School (small elementary school on Highland’s campus); Barack Obama Academy (new middle school formerly Alternative Learning Community), and Mandela High School (Fremont campus).
California’s NCLB bar was set higher again this year, so those six schools are not alone: Statewide, 669 other schools have just fallen into Program Improvement as a result of their 2009 scores. About 40 percent of Oakland’s schools — and 47 percent of its low-income schools, the only ones subject to federal sanctions — are in Program Improvement.
Though the NCLB goals got tougher this year and last, two former PI schools — ACORN Woodland in East Oakland and Sankofa Academy in North Oakland — hit the targets anyway. They were among a small group of 54 schools, statewide, that were able to free themselves from the dreaded list.
I made a spreadsheet just for you. It has three tabs: One, sorted by school level and API score (highest to lowest); another sorted by school level and API change from 2008 to 2009; and lastly, a chart showing achievement gap trends since 2003, as I promised Sharon I’d do. You can find it here.
I also wrote a story about the test score report, if you care to read it.