Thursday, November 15, 2012

How are our students doing? (A closer look at the API)

The race-based achievement gap is far more pronounced in Berkeley than it is in the state of California as a whole. While there is a 143-point difference on the API (Academic Performance Index) between white and African American students in California, there is a 264-point difference between these two groups of students in BUSD. That’s 264 points out of a total possible 800 points, which means that white students in Berkeley are achieving 33% HIGHER than African American students.

In a press release from Co-Superintendents of BUSD, Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith in October, there are additional data points for our district’s Academic Performance Index. which supplement yesterday's post on the achievement gap in BUSD.

Progress has been made and there are successes worth celebrating.  According to the BUSD press release, “The greatest gains in academic achievement are reflected in the 25 point increase in API for English
Learners, 37 points for Students with Disabilities, and 16 points for Socio-economically Disadvantaged Students. When disaggregated by ethnicity, the API increased by double digits for African American (15), Asian (12), Hispanic or Latino (15), and White (13) students.” 
This is significant and deserves recognition. We need to figure out how this progress was made so that it can be replicated (as we discussed in the “Bright Spots”post).  But we owe it to our students, families and community to not hide behind the progress we’ve made, without taking a hard look at the reality a very large group of our students in Berkeley are not receiving an excellent education.  
In the words of Co-Superintendent Neil Smith, “Our work is moving us in the right direction but we are still not where we want to be. We now have to focus targeted instruction and resources to the specific areas where we know we can better serve our students.”

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