Palo Alto schools report bump in test scores Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Oct 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm
Better test scores among disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students contributed to a bump in the "Academic Performance Index" score of Palo Alto schools, which was publicly released Thursday by the California Department of Education.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 11, 2012, 1:37 PM
Posted by Jan H., a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm
Last year some San Jose schools ( such as Union School District and Willow Glen) scored higher than PAUSD at the elementary and especially at the middle school levels.
Los Gatos/Saratoga has always scored higher. I personally know of some people in PA who moved to Los Gatos or Saratoga for this purpose, and got the added benefit of a lower (if only a little) cost of housing.
Posted by bill, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 10:34 am
On a percentage basis it is not a "jump" to go from 926 to 934 out of 1000 - less than one tenth of one percent? There are too many variables when comparing school rankings to brag about small differences - and most of them socio-economic.
I attribute the achievement of Palo Alto students to support from well educated, well off parents than anything else. It would be surprise if Palo Alto was not among the top scorers. Although as Jan H. points out, there are several schools on the Peninsula that rank higher at less cost.
Posted by pa parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm
Wow, nothing makes you people happy! We live in one of the richest, most interesting, most intelligent communities in the country and all I read in these comments in complaints, and fear that other communities are better. I, for one, am quite graateful to live here.
Posted by Jan H., a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm Jan H. is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
For several years I knew a woman who was a teacher at the elementary school level in Willow Glen. This was in the Nineties. Her daughter was a riding school student of mine. At that time, Willow Glen scored a significant number of points higher than PAUSD, despite the higher socio-economic status of most PA parents, and despite the fact that WG spends less $$ on education.
I asked her what she thought the difference was. Her answer: more parent involvement in Willow Glen, Los Gatos, etc. Basically, fewer PA parents are able to make time for their child's school, for whatever reason. Her second response: fewer over-scheduled kids. Willow Glen students have fewer extra-curricular commitments, and therefore have more time to complete homework assignments and study for tests.
Simple as that, but apparently, difficult for many parents to accomplish.
Posted by Scores, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm
"Last year some San Jose schools ( such as Union School District and Willow Glen) scored higher than PAUSD at the elementary and especially at the middle school levels."
Union Middle scored 932, slightly below JLS. Union Middle has seen an increased over 100 points in the last 5 years. Non-Title 1 Elementary schools in the Union School district are all in the mid 900's. Lots of parent involvement. Great kids who care about their peers. Teachers who want their students to do well.
Posted by More-Data-Needed, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm
Six points is hardly a "bump". Each year there is a "growth projection" that is a part of the API data released by the State. What was the 2011-12 "Growth" number? It is not possible to discuss any increased API scores without this number being a part of the discussion.
The Weekly seems to have failed to understand this, and provide this important bit of data to its readers. It's very possible that the "growth" projection might be more than the increase turned in by the District. In this case, the District's performance would still be very good--but not up to expectation.
Posted by Data please, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 16, 2012 at 7:17 am
API scores are up across the state, but a lot of the reason is that students with IEPs are taking an easier test, the CMA, rather than the CST. For an explanation, see Web Link. In PAUSD, 20% of special education students are taking the test, which raises their achievement scores (and therefore the API scores). The tests are mostly used in elementary schools at this point. It is interesting that PAUSD missed its API subgroup targets for 3 schools: JLS, Jordan and Paly, all because of special education students. That will probably change once the CMA is given to those students.