California: Higher scores, more failing schools

State tests scores are up for California schools, but more schools are failing to meet federal proficiency goals, notes California Watch.

While the state accountability system credits school for improving, No Child Left Behind wants students to reach proficiency, which the state defines at a relatively high level. California’s “basic” would be “proficient” in many states.

The targets vary depending on the grade level. For example, for elementary and middle schools and districts to avoid being labeled as failing, 68.5 percent of students will have to score at a proficient level in math during the current (2010-11) school year; 79 percent will have to be proficient in 2011-12; 89.5 percent will have to be proficient in 2012-13; and 100 percent will have to be proficient in 2013-14.

Statewide, a third of districts are in “program improvement,” reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Only 40 percent of elementary schools and 26 percent of middle schools made Uncle Sam’s goal. Not all high school scores have been released, pending 2010 graduation rates, which are expected to be compiled in November.

By California’s standards, so many more schools are meeting the Academic Performance Index goal of 800 that Superintendent Jack O’Connell is talking about raising the goal.

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  1. Bad Science says:

    Curious. Either the California standard is lacking, or the standard test is wrong. I’d guess based on the evidence of the number of schools not failing the “No Child Left Behind” act that California has some work to do, but that’s just me.

  2. California standards are, in my opinion, brutally high. Not unfairly so, if we were testing a homogenous population with a median IQ of 100 or so. But we aren’t.

    I have personally seen kids learn a lot of math in a year, only to move from “far below basic” to “below basic”.

    Besides, why is the standard just “proficient” or “advanced”? Why are we so dismissive of “basic”?

  3. I spent some time looking over the “report cards” of several schools in my area. Many of them had very good scores except in 1 or 2 subcategories (typically “disadvantaged” and/or “English Language Learners”). IMHO it’s ridiculous to claim the entire school is a “failure” simply because it can’t get absolutely every subgroup to make AYP.