14
May
10

Yawn, Top School Scores In The Hills

As the blog of record, we need to report this real yawner:  top API scores were achieved by Montclair and Thornhill Elementary Schools again, and acceptable scores came from Joaquin Miller as well.  The newest Academic Performance Indicators (APIs) were released yesterday by the State of California.

It’s not surprising that our students perform well on these standardized state tests.  Montclair delivered 957, up some 35 percent over last year.  Thornhill registered 944, increasing 20 percent over last year.  Joaquin Miller scored 886, also rising 18 percent over last year.

We decided to check out the top 100 schools across California this time, and the scores do correlate with well-heeled places.  When you look through this list, you can easily imagine involved parents in each location.

To receive an “A” grade from the State of California, each school must achieve an 800 API – and that number isn’t even in the rear-view mirrors of our three schools.  Across Oakland Unified’s results, the elementary schools fell well below this number by yielding a 758 average and 746 median.  The city numbers still inched up four percent versus last year’s scores.

Anyway, the highest API scores are something Montclarions expect and probably don’t worry about very much.  It’s like handing out gold stars to pupils who are used to receiving them.

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4 Responses to “Yawn, Top School Scores In The Hills”


  1. 1 JMPotratz
    May 14, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Easily done. Teacher tell students that they are only to answer the questions they are sure of, because the state only grades those questions that are filled in. Since every student knows different things there will be plenty of answers not filled in when the tests are turned in. Teacher, or administrator, fills in a large percentage of the open bubbles with the correct answers, and maybe even some with wrong answers, to throw off any suspicions, and you have a twenty, thirty, or forty percent gain in API scores. What’s so hard about that? Unless a district gets rid of a whole lot of dumb kids, or a whole bunch of new kids moves in, a thirty or forty percent increase is impossible in one year, unless there is schoolwide or district wide cheating going on.

    If the government is really serious about these tests then they need to take the teacher out of the classroom, bring in outside monitors, film them giving the tests and sealing the documents, on camera. That takes the district or anyone associated with it out of the testing picture and a true result is obtained. Why can’t states figure this out?

  2. 2 montclairoak
    May 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Your faithful blogger’s opinion? I think increases or changes can happen for many reasons, and don’t jump to cheating conclusions. High API results are norm here, with high numbers every year. Maybe changes happen because the number of students isn’t very large in each school.

  3. 3 anonymous and insomniac
    May 15, 2010 at 5:04 am

    This is not true at all. And I don’t even know where to begin to try to rebut what was said about cheating, so I won’t. But I wanted to comment that the CST is not a test that’s designed to trick students into not doing well on it; it’s not a gameshow. It’s designed to see their attainment of the CA state standards. So you cannot even say that it’s a “hard” test; it tells us what it’s meant to tell us. If certain things are taught or known by a student (doesn’t matter how they learned it, whether at home or at school) and those things that they know are a CA standard, then they answer the question and do well. If they don’t know it, then they either weren’t taught it, didn’t learn it at home or just not a good test taker. It’s that simple. This is why the schools who are not on this top list need to work extra extra hard and get more funding; to ensure that they don’t leave the learning to chance. Those are the schools that really need to make sure that they teach to the standards because unfortunately that’s how they are being judged. This is not to say that the accomplishments of these three schools isn’t cause for celebration. There’s enough bashing of schools that goes on that we need to continue it here.

  4. 4 Montclair Parent
    May 17, 2010 at 11:25 am

    While I enjoy your blog, I was disappointed to see the headline begin with “Yawn.” And disappointed by the response that suggests cheating is the norm. There are certainly many reasons for schools to do well and schools to not do well, but as a parent at Montclair I am very proud of our school’s accomplishment. I don’t think many of the people involved at the school (parents, teachers, staff and students) think it’s boring to do well. And I do think they appreciate being recognized for their hard work. I imagine that the folks at the other hills schools feel the same way too.


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