Sonoma schools STAR scores drop

Last month, the State of California released the school-by-school STAR standardized testing results for 2013. And last week, the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson finished crunching those numbers to tabulate each school’s API (Academic Performance Index). Sonoma Valley’s scores were markedly lower in 2013 than 2012 by both measures.

The STAR tests measure the academic proficiency of students in grades 2-11 in English-Language Arts, and in grades 2-7 in math. Set in place by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, California’s goal was for 100 percent of students to achieve proficiency in those subjects by 2014. In Sonoma Valley, in 2013, no more than 53 percent of students in any grade showed proficiency in English and no higher than 52 percent in math. In some grades the numbers were much lower. In third grade, for example, only 21 percent of Sonoma Valley students showed proficiency in English and only 27 percent of Sonoma’s seventh-graders scored proficient or above in math.

School by school scores are available online at: star.cde.ca.gov/star2013/index.aspx

The annual Academic Performance Index (API) for each school is based on how well students do on tests, most notably the annual STAR tests and the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam).

At both the statewide and county levels, API scores showed a downward shift this year. The Sonoma County API was 793 in 2013, lower than last year but still higher than the statewide score of 789. Almost three-quarters of Sonoma County schools posted lower API scores in 2013 than 2012. The average API score for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District as a whole this year was 715, down 22 points from 737 in 2012.

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