High school students do well on API tests


Students in the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District made notable gains in this year's Academic Performance Index, released by the California Department of Education on Tuesday morning as a part of its yearly progress report.

The score is a formula-driven number -- predominantly based on the performance on the California Standards Test, or STAR, along with high school exit exams.

Administrators reported growth in almost every API score given, both school-wide at Mountain View and Los Altos high schools, and in nearly every student subgroup.

Mountain View High put up a 10-point gain, with an overall API of 865. Los Altos High improved by 30 points this year, with a score of 825. The district overall earned a score of 840 a 19-point gain from last year. The state API average for high schools is 713.

"We're very excited," said Superintendent Barry Groves on Tuesday morning.

Nearly every subgroup went up at Los Altos, with English language learners jumping 64 points to 648.

Though the score for Alta Vista, the district's alternative high school, dropped three points from last year, to 698, administrators say this is still a gain considering the school's 192-point jump from 2007 to 2008.

"The fact that they were able to almost maintain that incredible growth in itself speaks highly to the performance of their students," said Brigitte Sarraf, associate superintendent of educational services. "When you make such a big jump, usually chances are you come down the next year; but they have worked very hard."

The progress report also included the high schools' measures against the federal Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, targets as established by the No Child Left Behind Act.

"When you look at Los Altos High School, we didn't make AYP in all the components, specifically English language arts and mathematics," Sarraf said. "In Mountain View we did make AYP in all the categories."

Alta Vista did make its AYP target in all categories, Sarraf said, though it has a different AYP model because it is considered an alternative high school.

If any school does not make AYP in any category for two consecutive years, it will become Program Improvement (PI). Under this criteria, Sarraf said, it is possible that Los Altos could become PI next year.

Eventually, she said, all schools will be PI because of rapidly rising AYP targets. Under NCLB, all schools are expected to be 100 percent proficient by 2014.

"You can't escape it because of the escalation factor," she said.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I'm surprised no one commented here. Usually anything to do with the schools is full of ranters! Guess the MVWSD kids are generally doing OK when they get to high school. Wonder how, since according to everyone on this site, they never learned a thing in K-8?

Note the Assistant Super's comment that eventually, all schools will be in PI because of rapidly rising AYP targets. This is true. It hit Los Altos High this year, hit a couple (2, I think) of Mountain View Whisman's schools this year. Others will follow around the state, stay tuned...

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Posted by parent too
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Parent, educate yourself on the facts before being a cheerleader for the MVWSD. The Voice carries plenty of articles on the topic of local schools.

Actually, about 24% drop out in the transition to high school. Most are Latinos, the very students the MVWSD fails each year. In California in general, the drop out rate it almost 1 in 4.

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Posted by LA Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 8:25 pm

The negative impact of incoming MVWSD student is also watered down by high-performing LASD students who keep scores high. In return, we get all sorts of disciplinary problems.

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Posted by Juan
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm

A large group of MVWSD students are advanced into high school unprepared and drop out. It's true, most are hispanic.

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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Instead of complaining or even commenting on the drop-out rate, how about getting yourself over to school for just 1 hour a week to be a mentor or tutor or volunteer?

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at every public school in MV, and plenty of kids of ALL ethnicities and backgrounds who would benefit tremendously from the individual help and attention that adult volunteers provide.

And I just have to add...the punk who broke into our and several other cars on our street a few years ago was, surprise! NOT Latino but a "white kid" from Los Altos who was a MVHS drop-out. So let's be careful about making sweeping assumptions about race.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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