Oakdale Joint Unified School District has the highest Academic Performance Index (API) score – 797 – for any unified school district in the county this year, up from 794 last year. However, Oakdale High School didn’t help the district achieve that number. All test scores for OHS were invalidated because of a teacher error.
“We did have a self-reported exception…that disqualified the score,” said OJUSD Superintendent Marc Malone.
According to the California Department of Education (CDE) website, on the page for Oakdale High School’s 2011 API results it states: “This school (or the district on behalf of the school) has certified to the CDE that during the 2011 STAR testing an adult irregularity in testing procedure occurred at the school affecting 5 percent or more of pupils tested. Therefore, this school does not have a valid API for 2011.”
“For this year, Oakdale High School will not have an API, which means it won’t meet AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) goals,” Malone said.
He clarified that not meeting AYP goals does not mean that OHS will move into program improvement. There are a couple of reasons for this – one, OHS is not a Title I school that receives federal Title I funds. Secondly, for schools that are Title I schools, it takes two years of not meeting AYP goals to be moved into program improvement. Therefore, not having an API score doesn’t effect or impact OHS overall.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Malone added. “…When you give a test, there are very strict instructions on how the test is monitored or proctored.”
He said that the district wasn’t made aware of the issue until after the tests were all administered and by that time it was too late to correct the error. Since more than five percent of the OHS students took the incorrectly administered tests, the entire school’s API score was thrown out.
OHS’ 2010 API score was 791. High school officials had previously stated a goal of meeting the 800 mark this year – 800 is the “gold standard” for schools – although its target score was listed at 796 on the CDE website. Malone said that the individual students still received their test scores, they just didn’t count toward the API. He noted that by using the individual scores the district did some calculations and formed a “guesstimate” of the API, which he said he believes was still short of the 800 mark.
“There’s a plan for improvement in place for OHS and to go forward to hit the 800 mark for next year,” Malone said, noting that the school site will be “hyper vigilant” about instructions for administering the tests next time.
On an up note, Oakdale Junior High School made significant improvements in its API score and overall targets this year. Its 2011 API score was 782, up from 761 last year. OJHS also met growth targets in all student groups, and met all other targets.
“The junior high made a nice jump,” Malone said. “They have the same types of programs in place to improve (API scores) as the high school.”
He added that it’s not very common for a junior high to hit all of its targets. He reported that most similar schools tested are actually true middle schools that have sixth through eighth grades. Junior highs only have seventh and eighth grades, so from a testing standpoint because only two classes are being tested, it can be a disadvantage as one class can really affect the scores.
All the OJUSD elementary schools met their growth targets school-wide, but didn’t meet all targets for student groups or all other targets.
“All of our elementary schools stayed above 800,” Malone reported. “By and large, we’re happy with their scores. Some are down a little, but they continue to work on it.”
For the elementary schools, Magnolia had the biggest API improvement with a score of 820, up from a score of 807 last year. Fair Oaks had a score of 846 this year, up from an 839 score last year.
Sierra View had a slight dip in its 2011 API score of 855 compared to 859 last year. Schools similar to Sierra View had 2011 scores of 832. Cloverland’s 2011 API score is 828, down from an 849 in 2010, but similar schools had 2011 scores of 806.
“Our goal is to have one of our elementary schools at 900,” Malone said. “We think we have the plans in place to break that 900 barrier.”
For the outlying areas, Valley Home School had an API score of 845 this year, down from 874 last year. However, Valley Home School met growth targets for all student groups and all other targets. Knights Ferry School had an API of 823, down from 834 last year. Although it, too, met growth targets for all student groups and all other targets.