API, AYP, PI, and NCLB again

Today, the state released a slew of test score data — a new Academic Performance Index for each school and district as well as their No Child Left Behind status. See a list of all Alameda County districts and schools here, and click here for a two-tab spreadsheet of Oakland schools and their API scores. The second tab is sorted by school level and score.

The NCLB upshot:

Three Oakland elementary schools (Horace Mann Elementary, New Highland Academy and Bridges Academy at Melrose) made it off the federal watchlist known as Program Improvement this year. This means they met the ever-rising No Child Left Behind test score targets — all of them — two years in a row.

Thirteen others, however, missed those targets for two straight years and entered Program Improvement. Those schools are:

ELEMENTARY- Emerson, Franklin, Fruitvale, Laurel, Marshall and Reach

HIGH – Arise, East Oakland Leadership Academy, Far West, Oakland International, Oakland Military Institute, Oakland School for the Arts and Bunche Academy — all charter schools with the exception of Far West, Oakland International and Bunche.

The above schools are certainly not alone. More than half of the public schools in Oakland, including privately run charters, are in Program Improvement — about 40 percent of the elementary schools, 70 percent of the middle schools and 65 percent of the high schools.

Statewide, 567 schools entered program improvement this year. It’s no surprise, since the bar was set higher once again. Elementary and middle schools had to show that about 57 percent of their students (as well as various groups of students, categorized by race, income and ability) were proficient in English language arts, and that 58 percent were in math. For high schools, the percentages were slightly lower.

API news:

By my count, 34 Oakland schools scored at least 800 on the state’s Academic Performance Index this year. And nine did so — I think — for the first time (let me know if I’m missing anyone):

ACORN Woodland – 807
Burckhalter Elementary – 821
Monarch Academy (Aspire charter) – 825
Munck Elementary – 821
Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts (charter) – 847
Greenleaf Elementary – 826
Manzanita SEED – 842
KIPP Bridge (charter middle school) – 864
Montera Middle School – 830

You might notice that Redwood Heights Elementary, Bret Harte Middle and Skyline High don’t have API scores. That’s because of alleged testing shenanigans (a.k.a. “irregularities”) or major errors made by teachers who proctored the tests. I wrote about it in July, if you’d like to learn more.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Kafka would have loved Program Improvement. Read “The Trial” if you want to understand it.

  • AC Mom


    The link to the Excel file is not working.

    AC Mom

  • Katy Murphy

    Huh. It’s working for me. Maybe try a different browser?

  • AC Mom

    Wierd, it’s working now after 2 tries…I guess the third time really is a charm!

  • arismom

    Wow. Middle schools, but especially high schools in the Oakland area really struggle.

  • On the Fence

    There is a lot to complain about, no doubt, but I’ve been quite pleased with the API performance of Montera and Edna Brewer Middle Schools. I think Brewer has outscored Montera for the past few years, but now Montera takes the lead again(830 vs. 824). These are large, very diverse public schools with still a lot of attrition of the middle class, but seem to be doing pretty well.

  • cranky teacher

    Well, On The Fence, that’s fitting, since the middle class itself is showing a lot of attrition…

  • EBfootball

    Which school in Alameda is in program improvement?

  • Katy Murphy

    Wood Middle School in Alameda entered Program Improvement this year, though Chipman Middle School has been in PI for years. Here’s a link to the NCLB page for Alameda. You’ll see “Year 1″ next to Wood; in 2009, it wasn’t in Program Improvement.


  • ChangethePerception

    Congratulations to OUSD and all of the hard working teachers, administrators and other school staff on the progress that has been made over the past year. A 26 point increase on the district API should be, regardless of anyone’s personal beliefs about district policies or politics, should be commended.

  • Hot R

    Where are Skyline’s scores and a few others?

  • Katy Murphy

    Skyline, Redwood Heights and Bret Harte don’t have APIs this year because of testing irregularities. Which others do you mean?

  • Katy Murphy

    Oh, and OUSD closed the Oasis charter school in 2009, so I don’t know why it appeared on the list.

  • EBfootball

    I think BASE in Alameda was in program improvement but met their goal with their scores. Does that mean they are off the list?

  • Katy Murphy

    According to that CDE list I linked to, BASE isn’t a Title I school. You’ll see “Not TI” next to its name. While all schools are supposed to meet the NCLB goals, only Title I schools — those that receive a stream of federal money for low-income students — can be in program improvement.

    That’s for the federal government. But California schools are also supposed to make progress on their API scores in a separate accountability system established by the state.

  • harold

    Friedman speaks …


    “I WANT to share a couple of articles I recently came across that, I believe, speak to the core of what ails America today but is too little discussed. The first was in Newsweek under the ironic headline “We’re No. 11!” The piece, by Michael Hirsh, went on to say: “Has the United States lost its oomph as a superpower? Even President Barack Obama isn’t immune from the gloom. ‘Americans won’t settle for No. 2!’ Obama shouted at one political rally in early August. How about No. 11? That’s where the U.S.A. ranks in Newsweek’s list of the 100 best countries in the world, not even in the top 10.”
    “The second piece, which could have been called “Why We’re No. 11,” was by the Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson. Why, he asked, have we spent so much money on school reform in America and have so little to show for it in terms of scalable solutions that produce better student test scores? Maybe, he answered, it is not just because of bad teachers, weak principals or selfish unions.

    “The larger cause of failure is almost unmentionable: shrunken student motivation,” wrote Samuelson. “Students, after all, have to do the work. If they aren’t motivated, even capable teachers may fail. Motivation comes from many sources: curiosity and ambition; parental expectations; the desire to get into a ‘good’ college; inspiring or intimidating teachers; peer pressure. The unstated assumption of much school ‘reform’ is that
    if students aren’t motivated, it’s mainly the fault of schools and teachers.” Wrong, he said. “Motivation is weak because more students (of all races and economic classes, let it be added) don’t like school, don’t work hard and don’t do well.

    “In a 2008 survey of public high school teachers, 21 percent judged student absenteeism a serious problem; 29 percent cited ‘student apathy.'” “

  • Jeff P.

    Piedmont Avenue Elementary School’s API score grew more than 50 points! PAES now has an API score of 795. This achievement is largely a result of efforts by a fabulous school Principal, Ms. Ahmad (and of course the teachers, parents, and students too).

    I just thought it was worth highlighting some good news, and recognizing an up and coming elementary school at OUSD.

  • Teacher

    AIPCS is now the #1 school in CA. 120 min of language arts and 90 min of math per day will do that.