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Side by side comparison of East Bay district STAR scores gives preview of API scores to be released Thursday

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 at 2:54 pm in Education.

Fourth-grader at East Avenue Elementary in Hayward.

Fourth-grader at East Avenue Elementary in Hayward.

California public school students in grades 2 through 11 take Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, tests to assess their academic progress. Below is a look at how students in most East Bay districts compared to those statewide in English language arts and math.

These scores will be used to create Academic Performance Index, or API, scores to be released Thursday. The state is shifting to a new testing system in 2014-15 that will assess students based on new Common Core Curriculum Standards, which are not aligned to current tests.


English Math

CALIFORNIA 56.4 51.2

Acalanes 87.1 56.3
Antioch 47.3 38.9
Brentwood 68.7 70.3
Byron 65.6 70.3
Canyon 81.1 66.0
John Swett 47.6 43.2
Knightsen 56.1 68.2
Lafayette 86.4 87.4
Liberty 63.5 27.0
Martinez 66.3 64.9
Moraga 91.2 89.1
Mt. Diablo 58.0 53.3
Oakley 56.9 54.2
Orinda 91.6 91.1
Pittsburg 43.4 40.0
San Ramon 84.9 78.5
Walnut Creek 80.1 80.9
West Contra Costa 42.3 37.7
Alameda City 70.8 63.1
Albany 77.9 74.7
Berkeley 66.6 57.9
Castro Valley 73.8 64.8
Dublin 79.4 74.1
Emery 44.9 38.1
Fremont 78.2 72.6
Hayward 41.0 37.9
Livermore 68.8 60.5
New Haven 55 42.9
Newark 55.6 53.3
Oakland 43.0 41.4
Piedmont 88.5 80.8
Pleasanton 83.4 72.5
San Lorenzo 44.7 38.0
Sunol Glen 81.1 89.3

Martinez dropped 2.7 percentage points in English to 66.3 percent proficient and dropped 0.7 percentage points in math to 64.9 percent proficient. Superintendent Rami Muth said the district transitioning to Common Core standards.

“As a result of these shifts in program and design our schools have experienced a decline in the STAR test scores,” she said. “While this decline is not entirely unexpected it can convey the wrong impression about the forward progress of our schools. We will continue to carefully disaggregate our test scores to ensure that all of our students are learning the essential skills and content needed for long term success.”

The Mt. Diablo district’s English score dropped from 59.4 proficient to 58. The math score increased from 53.1 percent proficient to 53.3 percent.

“As a district, we are focused on continuous improvement and it’s important to take note of the progress we have made over time,” said Rose Lock, assistant superintendent of Student Achievement and School Support. “We are currently analyzing the results of the (tests) at the district as well as site levels. We will identify areas where we have to double our efforts to insure all of our students are achieving at high levels.”

The Pittsburg and Pleasanton districts were flagged for security breaches related to social media postings of test questions or answers. Breaches involving test site images that didn’t include questions or answers were identified in the Acalanes, Albany, Antioch, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Martinez, Milpitas, Mt. Diablo, New Haven, Newark, San Ramon Valley and West Contra Costa districts.

Detailed STAR results, including school scores, are available at

Staff writer Lisa P. White contributed to this report.

Do you believe STAR tests are a good measurement of student achievement?

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24 Responses to “Side by side comparison of East Bay district STAR scores gives preview of API scores to be released Thursday”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    Rose, please tell us what SPECIFICALLY are you doing to “double your efforts” ? Why didn’t you “double your efforts” last year when 3 elementary schools still had SIG grants? Rumor has it that 15 schools had API drops of -15 OR MORE and one over 60 pt drop ! And only 6 schools had API increases of +15 or more and none of those were our comprehensive high schools — only two high schools had low single digit API increases and the other three had double digit decreases. Is that true ? Parents of students: start demanding the truth and the facts, not “feel good” statements.

  2. Doctor J Says:

    When the API results are released pay attention to the two new SIG Cohort 2 schools, Oak Grove MS & Meadow Homes Elem. Oak Grove had a 20 + API drop and didn’t meet its AYP. MH had a modest API increase but not like the massive gains in Bay Point a year ago, but MH did meet its AYP. Did one school implement its SIG plan and the other didn’t ? Rose, who is monitoring the implementation of the SIG plans ? Here are the SIG plans:–Meadow-Homes

  3. Jim Says:

    TH — Back to your question. No, the STAR tests are probably not a “good” measure of student achievement. For one thing, the people being directly “measured” — the students — have absolutely no stake in the outcome of their individual results. (In my sons’s schools, many students, especially the higher-performing ones, didn’t even bother to show up on STAR test days.) If the tests were used consistently to give individual students access to more demanding courses or more personalized remedial help, and/or if they had any impact on college admissions, then sure, students would have more incentive to do well on the tests, and they could provide a better gauge of student achievement. But no one seems to want those kinds of genuinely “high stakes” tests, which are so common in other countries.

    Unfortunately, the STAR tests are all we have to evaluate a publicly run monopoly that has so far resisted any other form of accountability. The feds and states will keep trying to micromanage educators and test the bejabbers out of indifferent students, because that is the only alternative to allowing the kinds of choices among providers that we insist on almost everywhere else in our lives.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Listen to State Supt Tom Torlakson on the importance of the new Common Core State Standards.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    2013 CAHSEE results released. Good news and bad news — probably indicators of API to be released later this morning. MDUSD scores below both Countywide and Statewide for 2013 and dropped from 2012. CVCHS increased 2 pts in both math and ELA from 2012 and well above both county and State but still below College Park and Northgate. CPHS one point increase in math and even in ELA from 2012. CHS — same as 2012. Mount 3 pt jump in both math and ELA. Northgate down 2 pts in Math and 1 pt. in ELA. YVHS down 3 pts in math and 4 points in ELA.
    See for yourself.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    API & AYP Scores Released ! Holy Cow ! There are some huge surprises !

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Clayton Valley Charter soars +62 API points and meets ALL Growth targets — Northgate sinks -16 API points and does not meet subgroup AYP growth targets. Only 11 points separate Northgate and Clayton Valley now — its not just an athletic rivalry, its an ACADEMIC rivalry too !

    MDHS increases 10 API points to lead the District Comprehensive High Schools increases and meets schoolwide APY but not subgroups. YVHS, under Sue Brothers, plummets 19 points and doesn’t meet any AYP growth targets.

    Oak Grove Middle School dives -26 points combined with last years drop of -38 points, for a total of -64 points in two years under So Cal transplant Principal Lisa Murphy Oates. Did not meet any AYP growth in either year. And in 2012/13 she had a SIG grant for additional instruction.

    Sun Terrace Elem, under Hayward USD transplant Principal Kristan Martin-Meyer sunk a whopping -68 API points, and not meeting any AYP growth. Combine that with last years fiasco of recently resigned Principal Gretchen Jacobs loss of -38 points and Sun Terrace has lost -106 API points in two years !!

    Silverwood had an API increase of +33 to lead the Elementary schools meeting all AYP growth. SIG school Bel Air was not far behind with +29 and also met AYP growth. Combined with last years +58 API jump, Bel Air has increased +87 API points in the last two years under the SIG Grant. Other Cohort 1 SIG schools did not fare as well: Rio Vista lost -26 API points, and Shore Acres lost -9 API. However, Cohort 2 SIG school Meadow Homes spiked +17 API points and met all its AYP.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Wow, Clayton Valley Charter High increased its API from 773 last year to 836 this year. 63 Point Increase!!! Its now outscoring College Park by a nearly 20 point margin, and is just 11 points away from Northgate. Plus, It looks like CVCHS scores were brought down a bit by the exit exam scores from seniors who spent 3 years in the non-charter school, without those they might have surpassed Northgate already.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my API/AYP/CAHSEE story, which will be shortened for print:

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Rose Lock and John Bernard are ignoring the awful leadership at Sun Terrace [-106 last 2 years] and Oak Grove [-64 last 2 years] and a few other schools. Are we just going to ignore the children while SASS takes much better principals to do district paperwork at much higher salaries ? While the Bernard/Lock press release lauds the schools with significant improvements [as I did] it fails to address the schools that are in free fall and what immediate actions are going to be taken to make sure these children don’t have a failure of leadership year after year, especially when Oak Grove is in the second year of a 3 year SIG Grant. We cannot fail these students another year; immediate action must be done to replace the leadership at Oak Grove, Sun Terrace and a few others. Stop the bleeding.

  11. Phoenix Says:

    Dr J,

    The CURRENT leadership at Sun Terrace is NOT the problem. This principal walked into a tough situation and is working hard to rebuild the school, staff, and community. Test scores are a direct result of the two years prior to Mrs. Martin-Meyer Sun Terrace will show improvement this year!

  12. phoenix Says:

    This year’s scores at Sun Terrace are NOT the result of hiring principal Martin-Meyer, but rather the past few years catching up. Sun Terrace has many extremely dedicated, hard-working teachers and a great new principal . Sun Terrace will shine again!

  13. phoenix Says:

    Sorry for the double posting. I typed #12 before I saw #11 posted.

  14. Heather Says:


    The data just doesn’t support your assertion unfortunately. Sun Terrace dropped ANOTHER 68 points THIS YEAR alone. That is an enormous drop, and is a sign that something is still not working. A real turnaround should show at least a halt to the plummeting test scores, not a huge drop. Look at CVCHS’s turnaround. In their FIRST YEAR, they were able to increase scores 63 points, which is a sign that it CAN be done and fairly quickly.

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry Phoenix, but I don’t bet children on the roulette wheel — the Sun Terrace principal has no track record of success — it takes total disaster in a school to loose 68 API points in one year ! And who put her there ? Rose Lock is to blame but refuses to take the blame.

  16. Jim Says:

    Theresa’s article on East Bay APIs in yesterday’s CC Times had an interesting quote from the leader of a Richmond charter:

    Richmond College Prep, located in the Iron Triangle area of Richmond, scored an impressive, 33-point jump in its API score, from 795 to 828.

    “Our population is 100 percent students of color — 50 percent African-American and 50 percent Hispanic,” said Founder David Rosenthal. “Why is this school’s API 828, with African-Americans scoring 833, when other schools in the area are scoring in the 600s? The answer is leadership and a complete focus on educating children.”

    School choice critics will tell you these schools “cherry pick” their students to get such scores, but the sad truth is that these schools couldn’t find that many “cherries” in their attendance areas, no matter what they did. The teachers and students have to do the hard work to help regular kids succeed. What’s interesting, if you talk to leaders of these schools, is that after a few years, raising API is old hat and no longer a major concern. The heavier burden is helping these kids prepare to be successful with college and careers. They will tell you that raising test scores — the process that causes so much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the traditional public schools — is actually the easy part.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    @Jim#16 Excellent post. When Rose Lock had these API estimates about 3 weeks ago, she took absolutely no action to make reassignments or take any corrective action. Theresa could not get a statement from her on STAR test results — and then it was jibberish about doubling their efforts — Rose replaced one Hayward transplant with another and expects different results ? As Dr. Phil would say, How’s that working for you Rose ? -68 API points. Rose, why would you take a successful principal like Christine Richardson from YVES and put her in SASS to do paperwork — when you have a need for a strong leader at Sun Terrace. When are children going to come first in MDUSD ?

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Need another example ? Stockton Unified’s 7 SIG schools all soared. Saturday school ? Rose Lock why haven’t you thought of that ? Please, for the children’s sake, take off your blinders and put children first with the BEST instructional leaders in MDUSD leading their schools instead of filling out paperwork in SASS.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Who has Rose Lock placed in charge in SASS of supervising the SIG schools grants ? Lisa Boje, a transplant from Stockton Unified, who left not exactly under the best of circumstances. Tell us Lisa, what happened in 2012/13 at Rio Vista and Oak Grove MS ?

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a new blog post comparing API scores for Contra Costa County districts:

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s how the San Ramon Valley district is implementing Common Core:

  22. Sick and tired Says:

    It must be nice to be Dr J, have all the confidence, knowledge and “true ” information she has access to and to be right all the time.

  23. Also Sick And Tired Says:

    Amen to #22. There is an old Jamaican proverb which says “Finger nebber say, ‘look here,’ him say ‘look dere” which translates to: People always point out the shortcomings of others but never their own.

  24. anon Says:

    Dr. J @19, the article says Lisa Boje came from Lincoln Unified, not Stockton Unified. Two very different school districts.

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