District's API test score average declines

Newport-Mesa Unified schools dropped an average of four points in the Academic Performance Index, the first decrease since 2003-04, according to state data released Thursday.

The district's average score dropped to 838 on the 1,000-point scale this year. The state expects all schools to meet a score of 800, and those that fall short are required to meet annual growth targets outlined by the California Department of Education.

API scores are based on Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) results and the California High School Exit Examination. The scores measure academic performance levels and growth for individual schools and districts.

Despite the drop in the overall score, district officials said they have a positive outlook on the results.

"[The district] has continued to outpace the state and county average APIs, posting four points above the county and 49 points above the state average," spokeswoman Laura Boss wrote in a news release.

While Newport-Mesa as a whole achieved the state's API goal, 20 of the district's 30 schools that received API scores saw a drop from last year.

Newport Harbor High, Early College High, Back Bay High, TeWinkle Middle, Ensign Intermediate, Victoria Elementary, Anderson Elementary, Kaiser Elementary, Davis Elementary, Newport Elementary and Lincoln Elementary schools declined by double digits.

Scores from California Elementary, Rea Elementary, Mariners Elementary, Newport Coast Elementary, Newport Heights Elementary, Paularino Elementary, Sonora Elementary, Corona del Mar High and Costa Mesa High dipped slightly.

Still, 19 schools achieved the state's API goal of at least 800.

And 10 schools increased their API scores from last year. The most significant improvement came from Eastbluff Elementary, Pomona Elementary, Wilson Elementary and Estancia High schools. Estancia is the only district high school to see higher scores this year than last, state data shows.

"The work that is being done in the classrooms as evidenced by the recent results enforces the district's position that we are continuing to move closer to eliminating the achievement gap, while at the same time, our high-performing schools continue to be high performing," Boss wrote.

API scores maintain significance for districts because they put schools in the running for federal, state and local awards.

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