Seventy percent of Sacramento area schools post test score declines

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 - 3:40 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 - 8:01 am

Test scores fell at most schools across the state and Sacramento region last year - a trend compounded by a tougher federal definition of "adequate" student test progress, according to results released Thursday.

About 70 percent of schools in the region saw their Academic Performance Index - a composite of test scores - decline from 2012 to 2013.

Nearly all of the largest districts in the region saw most of their schools post API declines. At Elk Grove Unified, 45 of 62 schools saw test scores drop; at Sacramento City Unified, it was 62 out of 83; at San Juan Unified, it was 52 out of 63; at Twin Rivers, it was 33 out of 46.

A handful of local districts saw more schools post test score gains than losses. They included Buckeye Union Elementary in El Dorado County, where 7 of 9 schools saw API scores increase and Woodland Joint Unified, where 9 of 15 schools saw increases.

At the school level, the biggest API drops were at the Thomas Edison Language Institute in Arden-Arcade, which saw API scores fall 114 points from 2012 to 2013, and at Floyd Elementary in Sacramento, which saw API scores drop 91 points.

The biggest API gains were at Jefferson Elementary in Natomas, where scores improved by 70 points and at Charter Montessori Blue Oak in Cameron Park, were scores improved by 69 points.

Test scores at every school in the region: Red=Declining scores ... Green=Rising scores
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The state considers an API score of at least 800 to be the target for high academic performance. About 53 percent of local schools hit that target last year, compared to 51 percent of schools statewide.

The federal government has a different student achievement target than the state - and moves it higher each year.

Under the No Child Left Behind law passed about a decade ago, all students should test at the proficient level by 2014. Last school year, about 90 percent of students at a school needed to test proficient for the school to meet "adequate yearly progress."

Of roughly 550 schools in the region with valid scores, only 28 hit the federal goal of 90 percent proficiency.

A large number of schools that take certain federal money -- Title I grants -- must meet federal goals each year or be placed in "Program Improvement," which exposes them to sanctions.

Last year, 261 local schools were in Program Improvement, up 30 from the year before.

Note: Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 8/29 to fix slight calculation error.

Read more articles by Phillip Reese