Academic performance scores for the Del Norte County Unified School District improved slightly this year, with four schools, including Del Norte and Sunset high schools, making the most progress.
But as the district and other public schools in the county transition to the new Common Core State Standards, measuring student performance using the Academic Performance Index may change. The Common Core is expected to be fully implemented in the 2014–15 school year, although students may be tested according to the new system this year, according to district Superintendent Don Olson.
“Now with the Common Core, CST tests are done,” he said, referring to the California Standardized Test. “There will have to be a new baseline established. The Common Core will be a significant change from how students were tested in the past.”
The district’s Academic Performance Index score rose by three points, according to numbers recently released by the California Department of Education. Del Norte High’s API rose by 18 points and Sunset High’s by 162 points.
Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods’ API increased by 7 points.
The API ranks schools based on results from the California Standardized Test, which will be discontinued to make way for the Common Core, and the California High School Exit Exams. Scores range from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000.
According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, a majority of California schools have met or exceeded the statewide performance target of 800 points on the API for the second year in a row.
Del Norte’s goal has been to have continuous API growth over time, Olson said. Two schools, Mary Peacock and Redwood elementary schools, had exceeded the state’s target growth of 800, but slipped back by 24 and 26 points respectively, he said. But, as a whole, the district improved, Olson said.
“There’s always a little plus or minus with the schools,” he said. “If you’re a K-5 school and you just lost a group of fifth-graders, now (you’ll have) a group of second-graders testing.”
Exit exam results were also released last month. At Del Norte High School, 190 students out of 230 took and passed the math portion, while 184 out of 228 took and passed the English-language arts test.
Districtwide, 197 out of 242 students passed the math portion of the exit exam, while 190 out of 239 passed the English-language arts portion.