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Another Look At The 2012 Palo Alto (CA) Unified School District (PAUSD) API Data

Another Look At The 2012 Palo Alto (CA) Unified School District (PAUSD) API Data

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Published by wmartin46
Schools routinely fail to do detailed analysis of the performance data at their disposal. This report makes an in-depth review of the API (Academic Perfomance Index) data for the Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto (CA) for the year 2012.
Schools routinely fail to do detailed analysis of the performance data at their disposal. This report makes an in-depth review of the API (Academic Perfomance Index) data for the Palo Alto Unified School District in Palo Alto (CA) for the year 2012.

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Published by: wmartin46 on Jun 06, 2013
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09/19/2013

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PAUSD Board of Trustees25 Churchill AvenuePalo Alto, CA 94306Cc: Superintendent K. Skelly
Subject: Another Look At The 2012 PAUSD API Data
Elected PAUSD Board Members:Having watched the recent PAUSD Board of Trustees meeting (Oct. 23
rd
) where the 2012API/SAT/AP data was presented by the PAUSD Administration and discussed by theBoard, I found myself dissatisfied with both the Administration’s offerings, and theBoard’s discussion of the data and its implications. Given that he STAR/API dataavailable to the public is quite extensive, this data offers the possibilities of far greater insight into our schools than this presentation/analysis, as provided by the PAUSD.The following short paper about the 2012 API data presentation is being forwarded for your consideration about how this extremely important data could be better presented tothe public.
Better Analysis/Data Presentation Of Academic PerformanceData Needed
The PAUSD student performance data (API/SAT/AP) recently presented to the Board,and the public, seems very narrowly focused, as to not provide a very wide view of theAPI data available--which offers many insights into the schools around the state, as wellas the PAUSD. While the data presented by the PAUSD Administration doubtless is allcorrect—the question as to what goal of the presentation might be, and how this data is toused to better understand, and manage the schools, seems unclear.For instance, the so-called “achievement gap” continues to plague this district. Althoughit is difficult to fully understand why this “gap” exists, given the very high levels of per-student spending in this district—if per-student spending is really the only variabledriving high student performance. What information is there in the data files released bythe State that is not offered to the public by the PAUSD that would help to understand thenature of the “gap”, and what progress, if any, various programs, be they targeted, or  broad-brushed, might have in eliminating this gap? Given the data in the API files, andthe STAR test data files, it would seem that the Board would have demanded better modeling of the educational process by now—drawn from these very comprehensive datasources.
 
Education Delivery Model Needed
Missing from the PAUSD’s management of the schools is a generally accepted model of student education that acknowledges all of the components of “education”, including theimportance of the parent’s role in the education process. The current approach of the“education industry” seems to have made a concerted effort to erase the role of allcomponents not delivered within the framework of the government-run school systems.This approach fails to acknowledge the very important role of parents, and other inputs,such as religion, the general cultural background, and even the student’s own intelligenceand motivations. Clearly, the off-campus contributions are difficult to identify, much lessquantify, but that does not mean that they don’t exist, and even provide more lastinginfluences on students’ worldviews of “education” than those offered in the publicly-funded schools.The PAUSD’s presentation of student performance—as measured by the API/SAT/APmetrics—does little to provide any sense of what the educational model employed by thePAUSD might be. These “high level” metrics generally offer insight down to the “schoollevel” of education delivery, but do deeper. (STAR tests offer insight into the “gradelevel” of a given school, but STAR test results are said not to be comparable acrossschool years—making STAR data less valuable than it could be if the testingmethodologists had designed the tests so that all data collected would be comparable over multiple years.)
 
Ranked API Data of PAUSD Schools
The PAUSD should provide the public a ranking of Palo Alto schools, based on each of the performance metrics at its disposal. The following table offers this ranking for 2012:
School NameAPI07API08API09API10API11API126-Year Growth2012Diff.FromPAUSDAvg.2012Diff.FromStateAvg.
Statewide Average72874175476877878860PAUSD Average91091591992592693424 146Herbert Hoover Elementary9819739829849959951461207Duveneck Elementary9469639759779739742840186El Carmelo Elementary9339229399489479602726172Palo Verde Elementary9199129399559679604126172Terman Middle9409329409409579602026172Lucille M. NixonElementary9419399559529669551421167Fairmeadow Elementary9239169269359509533019165 Addison Elementary948938940945956948014160David Starr Jordan Middle9239289329389349472413159Juana Briones Elementary8829269239419409456311157Jane Lathrop StanfordMiddle907928906931927939325151Escondido Elementary900907893905909936362148Walter Hays Elementary936921924934917931-5-3143Henry M. Gunn High89990491591890992021-14132Ohlone Elementary90487488791690992016-14132Palo Alto High88390090189790090623-28118Barron Park Elementary84885286186187087931-5591
Table.1—Ranking of PAUSD By 2012 API Scores(including California Average Scores).

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