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Palo Alto Schools Rank High in Academic Performance

Statewide Academic Performance Index numbers show improvement, but many students continue to struggle.

Palo Alto continues to be a statewide leader in K-12 education, according to data released Wednesday by Ed-Data.

All of Palo Alto’s 17 elementary, middle and high schools ranked at or above the 80th percentile for API Base in 2011.

Ed-Data’s Academic Performance Index, or API, is used to assess the academic performance and growth of schools and districts in California, and is based on standardized tests from 2nd through 12th graders.

The API Base number comes from tests taken in the spring of 2011, and is used for measuring a district’s annual growth. The number is on a scale from 200 to 1,000, with 800 as the official statewide target.

Broken down across student subgroups, White, Filipino, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska Native students beat the 800 mark, but every other subgroup was close behind, in the 700s.

On average, PAUSD students scored a 926 API Base. That’s up one point from 2010’s score of 925.

Despite those numbers, however, the district continues to struggle to meet its “adequate yearly progress”, or AYP goals.

These goals are based on student performance and participation and require all student subgroups to excel.

In Palo Alto, there is a major discrepancy between the math performance of student subgroups, with Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, socio-economically disadvantaged, and disabled students all falling below the target of 67 percent proficient. All of those groups minus Black/African American are also missing the proficiency target in English/Language Arts.

That being said, every subgroup other than disabled students is meeting the participation requirement of 95 percent in English and Math, meaning that percentage of students is at least taking those subject tests.

For the district to get a passing grade, however, every subgroup must meet that target, and students with disabilities are only at a 91 percent participation rate in English testing and 92 percent in Math.

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