Mountain View Voice

News - May 21, 2010

MV schools' API scores are on the rise

Mountain View and Los Altos high schools gain ground on similar schools statewide

by Martin Sanchez

The Mountain View-Los Altos High School District's API score — a ranking of California schools based on student performance on statewide aptitude tests — has risen for the 10th straight year, district officials announced this week.

"We've continuously improved our performance, so this is an affirmation that we're continuing to work towards our students' growth and development," Superintendent Barry Groves said of the district's ranking.

The Mountain View Whisman elementary school district's API ranking increased as well, rising nine points to 817 out of 1,000 for the 2009 school year.

The high school district's ranking rose by 19 points to 840 between the 2008 and 2009 school years. Within the district, Mountain View High School's API score rose 10 points to 865 and Los Altos High School's score rose by 30 points to 825 during that time period.

When compared to similar schools statewide, Mountain View and Los Altos high schools were rated eight out of 10 — a two-point leap for both from last year's scores. These scores mean that both schools are among the highest-performing 30 percent of California high schools with similar class sizes, percentages of credentialed teachers and socioeconomic and ethnic compositions, among other factors.

Both schools maintained their 2008 rankings when compared to all California high schools, with Mountain View scoring 10 out of 10 and Los Altos scoring nine out of 10.

The API ranking for the district's Latino students also increased this past year, rising by 36 points to 685.

Groves attributed the improved test results to recent teacher training initiatives and special programs and recognitions directed towards the district's lower-performing students.

"We still are concerned with the achievement gap, and we'll continue working with students until that gap is closed," Groves said.

On the K-8 front, Graham Middle School and Huff Elementary were the only Mountain View schools with API scores that decreased, dropping nine points to 821 and five points to 918, respectively.

When compared to similar schools, Castro Elementary was ranked two out of 10 — a one-point drop from last year. However, its API rose 34 points to 793, suggesting that its test results have improved, but not as dramatically as those of similar schools.

The California Department of Education releases API, or Academic Performance Index, rankings every year. The rankings are based on a school's annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test results and, if applicable, its performance on the California High School Exit Exam.

A full list of the state's API rankings, as well as information about the scoring process, is available at the California Department of Education's website: www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/.

E-mail Martin Sanchez at msanchez@mv-voice.com

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