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School Districts Inch Toward State's Achievement Goal

Fremont and Newark school districts exceeded their Academic Performance Index goals, while the New Haven Unified School District fell short.

Two school districts within the Tri-Cities have exceeded their state academic achievement growth targets, according to data released from the state Department of Education.

New Haven Unified School District was the only local district that fell short of its 2011-12 Academic Performance Index (API) goal. API provides a "growth model" based on a scale of 200 to 1,000 points, with a score of 800 considered exemplary.

Fremont Unified School District performed the best out of the school districts in Fremont, Newark and Union City. The district as a whole received an API score of 884, up from 876 in 2010-11.

Newark Unified School District saw the most growth within the Tri-Cities, with an API ranking of 780, up nine points from its 771 API target.

New Haven Unified nearly reached its target of 775. Districtwide, New Haven received an API score of 773.

Statewide, a majority of schools met or surpassed the statewide target for academic achievement. That's the first time that's happened with API rankings.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced 53 percent of California schools finished above the target API mark of 800. That was an increase of 4 percent over the previous year. Ten years ago, 20 percent of the state's schools surpassed the API target.

From the most recent API report, 59 percent of elementary schools, 49 percent of middle schools and 30 percent of high schools exceeded the state benchmark.

API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. An educational organization’s API is determined by a report that is compiled through students’ performance on standardized tests.

“We’ve set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way,” Torlakson said. “The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents, and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there’s still more work to do, California’s schools have earned a vote of confidence.”

In addition to the API scores, the state superintendent's office also unveiled today an online accountability tool that puts a wide variety of academic results and other information about a school’s performance at the fingertips of parents and the public.

The new School Quality Snapshot can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/snapshot.

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