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County API scores somewhat higher than last year

October 17, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

In a trend consistent with the state, Imperial County's 2000-01 Academic Performance Index scores were generally higher than the 1999-2000 numbers, although growth was not as dramatic.

Imperial County's average growth was about 22 points this year compared to last year's average of about 38 points.

The API is a numeric index ranging from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. The 1999-2000 API established the baseline for each school's academic performance and annual growth target. Each school aims to meet its individual growth target, a number determined as 5 percent of the difference between the school's previous year API score and the statewide performance target of 800.

Only one school, El Centro's Margaret Hedrick Elementary, surpassed the 800 mark this year. With a score of 801, Hedrick is the first Imperial County School to hit the statewide target.

This year, 20 percent of California schools were at or above 800, a 3 percent increase over last year.

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Of the 46 Imperial County public schools for which scores were available this week, 30, or 65 percent, met or exceeded their growth targets this year. Last year, 82 percent, or 31 of 38 schools for which scores were available, met or exceeded their growth targets.

Statewide, 57 percent of schools met their growth targets.

Overall this year, 35 schools improved their scores over last year, three showed no change and eight dropped.

From this latest round of API scores, 18 schools are eligible for cash awards, including the governor's performance award and the certificated staff performance incentive act.

Michael Klentschy, El Centro Elementary School District superintendent, said his district views the API scores as a measure of how well its schools are progressing to meet statewide standards.

Since 1999, scores in the El Centro Elementary district have steadily improved.

"We're pleased with the trend line. It shows the interventions are working," Klentschy said.

The interventions are not one-size fits all remedies, Klentschy said. They are tailored according to each school's student body needs so as to have the highest impact, he said.

Those interventions include tutoring, summer reading camps, after-school writing clinics and the districtwide adoption of the Open Court reading program.

"This is a real opportunity for self-improvement," Klentschy said.

In the Calexico Unified School District, Superintendent Roberto Moreno said nearly all students in the district were tested in this round of API scores. In the past only about 75-80 percent of students were tested while some English-language learners were not.

Even with the inclusion of less-prepared ELL students, test scores showed progress, Moreno said.

"We're pleased that so many (schools) showed gains and we're pleased at how small the drops were in those that didn't," Moreno said.

While William Moreno Junior High and Calexico High School fell this year by 12 and two points, respectively, their scores were still higher than where they started in 1999 when fewer students were tested.

"Even the small drops were still better than the first year when we were not testing everybody," Moreno said.

The overall trend has scores climbing, Moreno said.

"There's some noise, but despite that, there's still an upward trend," he added.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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