By Nick Veronin
Schools in Silicon Valley earned consistently higher marks on standardized tests than other schools throughout California, and a majority of Mountain View schools scored above the statewide target, according to a report released by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
The Los Altos School District, which pulls roughly 25 percent of its student body from Mountain View, had the highest base API of any elementary school district in the state: 965 — well above the state target of 800.
The report, released May 5, showed base Academic Performance Index (API) scores for every school in the county and ranked schools into "decile" groupings — a 10-point scale, where one is the lowest score and 10 the highest.
Three schools in the Mountain View Whisman School District came up short of the state target. Theuerkauf and Castro elementary schools, along with Crittenden Middle School, tallied Base Academic Performance Index scores of 796, 793 and 765 respectively.
Despite three of his schools not making the 800 mark, Superintendent Craig Goldman said he was pleased with his district's overall performance.
"Our elementary schools, on the whole, did very well," he said, noting that all district elementary schools grew from their base API last year and that both Theuerkauf and Castro were "on the cusp of what is considered to be excellent by state standards."
A given school's API is determined by how well its students perform on standardized tests, such as the Standardized Testing and Reporting test (STAR) and the California High School Exit Exam. API is measured twice a year — "base" API is recorded in the spring and then compared to "growth" API in the late summer. Decile scores are determined by comparing all the schools' API scores to each other.
Crittenden and Graham, the district's two middle schools, both saw drops in base API, which Goldman said was disappointing. "We're not just looking at that, we're in the process of doing something about that, " he said.
Local high schools did well, with both Mountain View High School and Los Altos High School breaking the 800 mark — with scores of 861 and 857 respectively.
Those scores pleased Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District. Both schools were in the top decile with a score of 10.
"It's always great that our schools are ranked in the top 10 percent," Groves said. "It's a testament to our teachers."
For a full list of base API scores for Santa Clara County schools and districts, go to the county's Office of Education website, http://www.sccoe.org, and click on the "County Schools Shine in API" link in the "News and Facts" column.