Press Release: Berkeley Unified School District Shows Gains on the API and AYP

From Mark Coplan
Wednesday October 10, 2012 - 10:05:00 PM

The California Department of Education released the 2012 Accountability Progress Report today. This annual report contains two sections: 1) the state Academic Performance Index (API) measuring year-to-year growth in academic achievement that a school or local educational agency (LEA) has made, and 2) the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measuring how well a school meets minimum performance targets. 

Academic Performance Index (API) - Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) had an overall growth of 19 points resulting in a district-wide Academic Performance Index (API) of 810. The greatest gains in academic achievement are reflected in the 25 point increase in API for English Learners, 37 points for Students with Disabilities, and 16 points for Socio-economically Disadvantaged Students. When disaggregated by ethnicity, the API increased by double digits for African American (15), Asian (12), Hispanic or Latino (15), and White (13) students (see charts 1 & 2). Several district-wide initiatives have contributed to the gains for all student groups including the implementation of Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI2) in our K-8 schools, focus on English Language Development and academic language instruction, reduced teacher-to-student ratio in middle school math classes, and collaboration time for teachers. 

Each of BUSD’s elementary and middle schools have exceeded the statewide API target of 800 or above. The average gain in Elementary and Middle School was over 25 points. “The API numbers out today provide another data point that our schools are on the path of continuous improvement. We are committed to raising the achievement of students of all groups and closing the differences between them. I am proud of the way all of our school site staffs, administrators, and district departments are working to put students first,” shared Co-Superintendent Javetta Cleveland. 

Berkeley High School (BHS) received an API for the second consecutive year showing a 19- point growth in one year for a school API of 734. Previously reported in Spring, 2012 was the BHS graduation rate of 86% - higher than both the county and state graduation rates. “Berkeley High teachers and staff are working to improve the educational outcomes for all students. Their focus now is to align the curriculum to the new Common Core State Standards and to use common assessments. We expect to see accelerated improvements in high school performance just as we have seen recently in our elementary and middle schools,” said Co-Superintendent Neil Smith. 

Of particular interest to the Berkeley community is the achievement of students in our Class of 2020 (current 5th graders who will graduate from high school in the year 2020). District, city, and community partners to the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth are using key indicators (e.g. third grade reading fluency, attendance, kindergarten readiness) as a barometer of efforts to ensure educational excellence and equity for all students. At 2020 in Action, a public symposium on the progress to date being held tonight, new California Standards Test (CST) data will show that 76% of last year’s third graders are proficient or advanced in reading, a gain of 10% from the previous third grade class. In addition, the Class of 2020 cohort demonstrated a 20 percentage point gain on the CST in English Language Arts and a 5 percentage point gain in Mathematics on their 4th Grade Test in 2012 as compared to 3rd Grade in 2011. 

President of Berkeley Federation of Teachers Cathy Campbell recognized that "Today's news highlights the critical work that teachers and students conduct every day in our classrooms. Teachers are working collectively to implement a rich and exciting curriculum, to engage all students, and to meet the needs of our diverse learners. Teachers are committed to continuous improvement in their own practice, and this is reflected in the scores we see today." 

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) – Annual Measurable Objectives, or AMOs, are the minimum percentages of students who are required to meet or exceed the proficient level on the statewide assessments used for AYP. AYP targets become more difficult to reach as more students must score proficient or advanced on the tests from the previous year, with the goal of all students being proficient or advanced by 2014. The 2012 data reflected in the Charts 4 through 7 shows there has been an district-wide increase in the percent of students proficient or advanced as well as by students in the African-American, Hispanic/Latino, English Learner, Socio-Economically Disadvantaged and Students with Disabilities subgroups. 

The BUSD Board of Education, the District leadership, individual school site leadership teams and staff will continue to work collaboratively to conduct a thorough analysis of test results and other available data, because as Co-Superintendent Neil Smith said, “Our work is moving us in the right direction but we are still not where we want to be. We now have to focus targeted instruction and resources to the specific areas where we know we can better serve our students.”