Burbank public schools have exceeded federal standards for reading,
writing and math, according to new academic performance indicators
released this week.
Nearly 39% of Burbank Unified students tested last year were
proficient in English-language arts, and nearly 42% were proficient
in math, according to the Adequate Yearly Progress Report, a
component of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The baseline numbers for students statewide were 12% for reading
and writing and 12.8% for math.
“All of our schools made their  goal for proficient or
above,” said Caroline Brumm, the district’s coordinator of student
and program evaluation.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by President
George W. Bush, mandates that all public schools must be 100%
proficient in English-language arts and math by 2014.
Progress-report criteria encompasses four parts, including annual
measurable objectives in English and math, a 95% student
participation rate, growth in the Academic Performance Index score of
at least one point a year, and improvement in the high school
graduation rate of 0.1% from the prior year.
The progress report released Thursday gives the district a
starting point for the 2003 report, the results of which will be
known Aug. 15.
“It’s an important concept because if you fail [the yearly
progress report] two times, you go into the No Child Left Behind
interventions,” said Bill Padia, director of policy evaluation for
the state Department of Education.
In the past, states had the authority to determine the criteria
for yearly progress, but the federal government now dictates the
methodology for calculating whether a school made it or didn’t make
it, said Pat McCabe, administrator in the state department’s policy
and evaluation unit.
“We think the [Academic Performance Index] is a better measure,”
said McCabe, referring to the state’s existing testing program. “It
better tracks whether a school is improving or not because it
measures growth along the entire scale, not whether a school is above
or below proficient.”
The performance index also rewards improvement, McCabe said.
“You could be low and improving, and in the old methodology that
was good,” he said. “Now if you’re low and improving, you still may
not make [Adequate Yearly Progress] because of the cut line they’re
Brumm said that the district is analyzing its data to see where
students are, and what measures must be taken to increase the
percentages to stay above the cut line.
“We have high expectations on the part of teachers, administrators
and parents to increase student motivation,” she said.