By Nancy Gutierrez

The State 2002-2003 Academic Performance Index (API) results report that Wilson Middle School and Lincoln Elementary School met their API growth targets in every subgroup and overall.

The API is the states assessment of student progress based on results from the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). This latest API report is the fourth in a yearly reporting cycle that started in the 1999-2000 school year.

The API includes results from California Standards Testing (CST) in English Language Arts from students in second to 11th grade. CST social science results as well as CAHSEE results for sophomores and juniors are also factored into the API. API results also take into account the national, standardized norm reference California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6). Growth results are also calculated for each ethnic and socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroup in the school with an enrollment of 100 and above.

Exeter Union High School and Rocky Hill Elementary did not meet their API growth target areas. This was a result of insufficient growth in one or more of the subgroups for both schools.

Wilson Middle School had an actual schoolwide growth of 24 points above its 2002 base score. Its overall target growth, that the state mandates, was seven points. Wilson maintains three subgroups, Hispanic/Latino, white (not of Hispanic origin) and socioeconomically disadvantaged. Each category was mandated to meet a growth of six points. The Hispanic/Latino subgroup experienced a growth of 24, White a growth of 33 and socioeconomically disadvantaged a growth of 45. Lincoln Elementary had a target growth of six points and showed an actual growth of 87 points above its total base score of 689. Lincoln received a 776 for the 2002-2003 API, only 24 points from the statewide performance target of 800. Most significant is the actual growth from the students in the Hispanic/Latino subgroup with an increase of 122. The target in that area was a five point increase.

The white and socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups, which also had target growths of five points, experienced actual growths of 69 and 83 points respectively.

"We are very proud of the students' performance and the work of the teachers and the staff," Superintendent Renee Whitson said.

EUHS and Rocky Hill experienced high growth rates in all areas except one. For both schools the white (not of Hispanic origin) subgroup did not meet target growth rates. If one subgroup does not meet API target growth rates then the school does not make API. At the high school the Hispanic/Latino, socioeconomically disadvantaged and white subgroup each had target growths of seven points. While the first two groups experienced growths of 36 and 48 respectively, the last group showed a growth of only two points.

"The standards for learner outcomes are more refined," Whitson said. "It takes tremendous effort from teachers and administrators but this is the best predictor of improvement."

These results differed somewhat from the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) assessment but many administrators and teachers believe the state assessment is a more accurate measure of actual growth.

The AYP implements a pass/fail process and evaluates every school based on single year performance and schools must show a certain percentage of proficient students each year. That percentage also increases each year.

The three years of steady growth shown by the API is an indicator of actual growth, that students are actually learning the curriculum. The API is broken into five levels of achievement. Schools move through the levels based on yearly growth. This process records incremental growth and is where schools get the number for their target growth.

"California measures things to see what is working and what's not," Whitson said. "Then we are able to be scientific in the application of standards."

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