Tests return mixed results

BURBANK — Results from state and federal standardized tests Friday revealed the Burbank Unified School District was holding strong in overall scores while a few schools lagged behind.

The district’s Academic Performance Index score was 787, 13 points away from the state mandated target of 800, with the district earning five points of growth to keep it within state expectations.

The Academic Performance Index is a compilation of scores from three standardized tests students take throughout their school year that sets the bar for their targeted growth this year. Scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a state target of 800 points for all schools. Each year schools are required to improve their score until they reach that target.

The percentage of growth the district is supposed to shoot for is determined by how far the score is from the statewide target of 800, with the minimum amount of suggested growth at five points a year.

“We met the growth target right on the head,” Deputy Supt. Joel Shapiro said. “But when you get that close to 800 it gets hard.”

There were five schools in the district that did not make their growth targets of five points. Walt Disney and Providencia elementary schools and David Starr Jordan Middle School all slipped and experienced a decrease in scores.

Disney Elementary fell 18 points from 797 to 779. Providencia Elementary fell 12 points from 783 to 771 and Jordan middle fell 10 points from 802 to 792.

Principals at all three schools will examine the Standardized Testing and Reporting results for 2007 to determine where the schools need to focus their instructional improvements.

“This is not something you do in a day,” he said. “This is something you do over a long period of time.”

George Washington Elementary School had no change in score. Luther Burbank Middle School missed their growth requirement by one point.

Even with a few schools faltering, the district’s score is still outperforming the state average by 60 points, said Jan Britz, assistant superintendent of instructional services.

The federally mandated Academic Yearly Progress report, which identifies and tracks schools meeting a percentage of proficiency that rises every year, was released along with the Academic Performance Index results.

The district exceeded the expected 23% proficiency in English Language Arts with 57.2% of students testing at or above proficiency.

The expectancy for 23.7% of students to be at or above proficiency in math was also exceeded at 56.6%.

The district also met the proficiency level in every subgroup, which includes categories of students by race, economic status and disability.

“In every one of these subgroups we have seen good growth over that period,” Britz said. “Growth in subgroups is one of the most challenging things that school districts deal with.”

The district is still working to narrow the achievement gap between certain subgroups like the African-American, white and Asian student populations at Burbank, Shapiro said.

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