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Improvement in Pinole Schools; District Remains Behind

New data show increases in the district's test scores for the 2010-11 school year, but problems still remain with No Child Left Behind mandates.

A record 49 percent of California schools met or exceeded the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) target last year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Wednesday. Of Pinole's public schools, only Ellerhorst Elementary eclipsed an API score above the state target of 800, with 807, according to data released Wednesday. Stewart and Collins elementary schools scored 790, and Shannon achieved a mark of 747.

The middle and high schools came in at 683 and 636, respectively. Only the high school showed a decrease, 15 points, from the previous year. The growth rate in the other schools ranged from 12 to 24 points.

Test scores are up, graduation rates are level, but the West Contra Costa Unified School District is still behind. The district schools as a whole averaged 709. The district also fell below the state target for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — the federal No Child Left Behind target for students scoring at or above proficiency — failing to meet proficiency targets in English and math.

Torlakson argued in a press release that the 913 schools statewide identified as "failing" are the result of flawed federal standards, rather than academic deficiency. 

“I applaud the hard work our students, teachers, parents, school employees and administrators are doing to improve — even in the face of severe cuts to school funding,” Torlakson said in a statement. “At school after school, and among every significant ethnic group, California’s students are performing better than ever. The failure here is in our politics, not our public schools.”

California’s 2010-11 Accountability Progress Report, which provides results of both state and federal school accountability systems, came less than a week after Torlakson's letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan requesting immediate relief from the flawed policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Both accountability systems are based upon results from the statewide Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, which showed nine consecutive years of rising scores among California students, and from the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).

The report shows that statewide, 55 percent of elementary schools, 43 percent of middle schools and 28 percent of high schools met or surpassed the state API target of 800, with the proportion of schools making the target rising 3 percentage points from last year, from 46 percent to 49 percent. 

The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. School and subgroup targets are set at 5 percent of the difference between the school or subgroup’s Base API score and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of 5 points. All numerically significant subgroups at a school must meet their growth targets for a school to meet its API growth target. While falling behind the statewide target of 800 on average, the Berkeley Unified School District successfully met its growth goal with a 6-point increase over 2010's base API, and a majority of schools hitting the target.

But problems arise in AYP goals. Each state defines what it considers to be a proficient level of performance for students in English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics. California is widely recognized for having some of the most rigorous standards in the nation. In Pinole, only Ellerhorst schools met both English and math proficiency levels. Stewart met the proficiency level in ELA but not in math. Collins met the math target but fell short on the english-language arts target.

While the district failed on average to meet AYP targets in English and Math, so did the proportion of schools across California. The number of schools meeting AYP targets declined from from the previous year, with 35 percent of elementary schools, 18 percent of middle schools and 41 percent of high schools reaching AYP goals for 2011, dropping by 5 percentage points, 8 percentage points, and 1 percentage point, respectively. 

NCLB requires schools, school districts, and county offices of education that receive federal Title I funds and do not make AYP criteria for two consecutive years to be identified for Program Improvement (PI). For the 2011-12 school year, 913 newly identified schools were identified for PI. Eighty-five schools exited from PI after making AYP for two consecutive years, with a total of 3,892 schools in PI status. Schools in PI are subject to a five-year timeline of intervention activities. 

States are also required to identify local educational agencies (LEAs), which include school districts, county offices of education, and statewide benefit charters for PI. For 2011-12, 95 new LEAs were identified for PI status, with 1 LEA exiting PI status, leaving a total of 445 LEAs in PI. 

In Torlakson’s letter to Duncan, Torlakson proposed that California be allowed to freeze the imposition of sanctions and mandatory identifications for the coming school year at last year’s levels.

API Scores for the West Contra Costa Unified School District:

2010 Base API 2011 Growth API 2010-11 Growth 696 709 13

Graduation Rates for the West Contra Costa Unified School District:

2010 Graduation Rate (Class of 2008-09) 2011 Graduation Rate (Class of 2009-10) 2011 Target Graduation Rate  74.17 74.99 75.93

API scores showed continued improvement across the board, with statewide growth of 11 points, propelled by a 14-point gain among English learners and Hispanic students and a 10-point gain among African American students. Asian and white students posted smaller gains of 8 and 7 points, respectively. 

While the results indicate a slight narrowing of the gap between subgroups, a significant achievement gap remains.

AYP reports showed that on average in the district, African American, Hispanic and Asian students did not meet proficiency targets in English, while white and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students did. In math, only Native Hawaiian and Pacific Ilsander students met the goal.

Understanding California’s 2010-11 Accountability Progress Report (from the California Department of Education)

  • Since 2005, the California Department of Education (CDE) has reported accountability results under the Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) system umbrella.
  • On the APR Web page schools are able to easily view their results under both the state and federal accountability systems.
  • The 2010–11 APR system includes the:

       2010 Base Academic Performance Index (API);

       2011 Growth API;

       2011 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP);

       2011–12 Program Improvement (PI).

  • The 2010 Base API was released in April 2011.
  • The Base API represents a recalibration of the API system that occurs each spring. Also included with the 2010 Base API score are API growth targets for the school and for every numerically significant subgroup at the school, the school's statewide rank, and its similar schools rank.
  • Data reported today are current as of August 31, 2011, and are subject to change as appeals of AYP determinations are processed and approved and as data corrections are made with the testing contractor and provided to the CDE. The API, AYP, and PI reports have regularly scheduled updates in September 2011, February 2012, and July 2012.

APR System Results 

  • API and AYP results are reported for the school overall and for all student groups considered to be numerically significant. A numerically significant student group is 100 students or 50 students that make up at least 15 percent of the school's population. Information is reported for all major race and ethnicity student groups, socioeconomically disadvantaged students (SED), English learners (ELs), and students with disabilities (SWDs). 
  • API scores range between 200 and 1000 with a state target of 800 points. In addition to the API score for the school overall and for all numerically significant student groups, the 2011 Growth API report also tells whether the API targets were met for the school and for each numerically significant student group.
  • The federal AYP consists of four components: participation rate, percent proficient (also known as Annual Measurable Objectives or AMOs), the API, and the high school graduation rate.
  • The federal PI report includes the Title I funding status for all schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) in the state as well as information on whether the school or LEA has been identified for PI. If the school or LEA is in PI, the year of interventions (Year 1-5 for schools and Year 1-3 for LEAs) is also noted.

    Key Differences Between the State and Federal Accountability Systems

  • The state accountability system is an index model that measures improvement in student achievement from one year to the next. Under the API system, schools are given credit for improving the overall performance of their students. School growth targets are set based upon the starting point of the school and are re-set each year depending on the level of growth each school site shows.
  • The federal AYP system is often referred to as a "status" model because it rewards schools for the percent of students the school has scoring at the proficient or above level on state assessments. No matter where a school began, all schools are expected to meet the same target at the same time.

Summary of 2011 Growth API Results

  • The API is a composite score that combines information across grade levels and content areas to yield a single accountability metric for a school site.
  • The API includes assessment results from the California Standards Tests (CSTs) in English-language arts (ELA), mathematics, history/social science and science, and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) in grades ten through twelve. All SWDs who take the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) and SWDs who take the California Modified Assessment (CMA) in grades three through nine in ELA and grades three through eleven in mathematics are also included in the API calculation.
  • One key feature of the API system is that schools are rewarded more for moving students from scoring at the lowest performance levels. For example, a student who moves from the far below basic level to the below basic level contributes 300 points toward the school's API score. A student who moves from the proficient level to the advanced level contributes 125 points toward the school's API score.

Schools At or Above the State Target of 800

  • The State Board of Education has established an API score of 800 points as the state target that all schools and student subgroups should achieve.
  • The percentage of schools overall meeting or exceeding this state target has increased each year over the past nine years. In 2011, 49 percent of all schools attained this target.
  • Based on 2011 data, 55 percent of elementary schools, 43 percent of middle schools, and 28 percent of high schools are now at or above the state target of 800. See Table 1.

The Achievement Gap

  • Results from the 2011 Growth API show that Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino, students improved by 10 and 14 points respectively while white students improved by 7 points. SeeTable 2.
  • SED, EL, and SWD student groups also improved more than the state as a whole; 14 points, 14 points, and 15 points compared to 11 points.
  • However, white and Asian students continued to have significantly higher API scores.
  • Tables 3, 4, and 5 show improvement from 2010 to 2011 for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools respectively.

 Summary of 2011 AYP Results

  • Every LEA, school, and subgroup in California is expected to achieve a 95 percent participation rate on ELA and mathematics state assessments used to calculate AYP each year.
  • In addition, all LEAs, schools, and subgroups are expected to meet state targets for the percentage of students scoring at or above the proficient level. These state targets will increase annually by about 11 percentage points until 2013–14 when 100 percent of students are expected to be performing at or above the proficient level on state assessments in both ELA and mathematics.
  • The participation rate and percent proficient calculations for elementary and middle schools are based on the CSTs, the CAPA, and the CMA, in ELA and mathematics. For high schools, the participation rate and percent proficient calculations are based on the CAHSEE and the CAPA for grade ten students in ELA and mathematics. The API is an additional AYP indicator for all schools.
  • The graduation rate is an additional indicator only applicable for schools with grade twelve data (i.e., enrollment, graduation, or dropout).
  • The percentage of schools making their AYP targets differs by school type with 35 percent elementary schools, 18 percent middle schools, and 41 percent high schools making their AYP targets in 2011. See Table 7.
  • Schools receiving Title I funds meet their AYP targets at a lower rate than schools that do not receive Title I funds. In 2011, 35 percent of all elementary schools made their AYP targets compared to 27 percent of Title I elementary schools. See Table 7.   

Summary of 2011–12 PI Results

  • Schools that receive Title I funds are identified for PI if they miss AYP in the same content area (ELA or mathematics) or for the same indicator (API or graduation rate) for two consecutive years. Once identified for PI, a school advances to the next year each time it misses AYP. More information about how schools are identified for PI can be found on the Title I PI Status Determinations Web page athttp://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidetermine.asp.
  • PI for schools is designed on a five-year timeline. Schools in Year 1 of PI must offer students an option to attend a non-PI school in the same LEA with paid transportation. Schools in Year 2 of PI must also offer supplemental education services (SES) to eligible students. Additional information about the intervention activities associated with each year of PI can be found on the Program Improvement Web page at Program Improvement - Title I, Part A-Accountability.
  • There were 6,157 schools with 2011 AYP data that received federal Title I funds in 2010–11.
  • Of those schools, 3,892 or 63 percent of those are in PI in the following years:

       Year 1 – 1,053

       Year 2 – 614

       Year 3 – 518

       Year 4 – 249

       Year 5 – 1,458

  • Nine hundred and thirteen schools are being identified for PI for the first time in 2011–12 after missing AYP in 2010 and 2011. In addition, 254 schools advanced to Year 5 of PI. See Table 8 for a full summary.
  • Schools exit from PI after making AYP for two consecutive years. In 2011, 85 schools exited from PI after making AYP in 2010 and 2011.
  • An LEA (school district, county office of education, or statewide benefit charter) is identified for PI when, for each of two consecutive years, it misses AYP in the same content area (ELA or mathematics) LEA-wide or for any numerically significant subgroup, and does not meet AYP criteria in the same content area in each grade span (grades two-five, grades six-eight, and grade ten), or does not make AYP on the same indicator (API or graduation rate) LEA-wide.
  • PI for LEAs is on a three-year timeline. Information about the requirements of each PI year can be found on the CDE PI Web page.
  • In 2010–11, 931 LEAs received federal Title I funds.
  • Of those LEAs, 445 or 47.8 percent were identified for PI for the 2011–12 school year in the following years:

       Year 1 – 100

       Year 2 – 59

       Year 3 – 286

  • A database of all 2010–11 Title I schools and LEAs along with their PI status (in PI/not in PI) and their PI Year (1 through 5 for schools and 1 through 3 for LEAs) can be found on the CDE Title I PI Status Data Files Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidatafiles.asp
  • In addition, a database of schools and LEAs at risk for being identified for PI in 2012–13 will be available soon on the CDE Title I PI Status Data Files Web page listed above. Schools and LEAs at risk for PI identification missed AYP in 2011.

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