Posts Tagged ‘API’

API Myths

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St. Clare School. Oldest Elementary School in ...

St. Clare School. Oldest Elementary School in Silicon Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heiwa elementary school %u5E73%u548C%u5C0F%u5B...

Heiwa elementary school %u5E73%u548C%u5C0F%u5B66%u6821 _18 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An increasing number of new home Buyers are using the API system as a major factor when choosing where to buy a home. 90 % of 1st time Buyers start by requiring that the Elementary School has a 900+ score. Given that this eliminates approx 95% of schools in Silicon Valley we have a problem.

The solution is to explain how to use the API System for what is is designed to do, not what they are being told by other uninformed parties.

First we clarify that API does not tell how good a school is. Specifically at the Elementary level it measures only 2 subjects: English and Math.

Whilst these are important i firmly believe there is much more involved in being a good school than teaching how to take tests in 2 subjects only.

An API FULL REPORT also gives the demographic make up in a given school, and how each group is scoring. For example, let’s just take a typical Silicon Valley Elementary school which has an API score 0f 860 and a total of 350 students, 50% White, 50% Asian, and 50% others. We will consistently see that the Asian student group has a 900# API, while the White group will be in the 800’s.

If I were an Asian Buyer I might see this as a good reason to save a huge amount on my home purchase by considering an 860 Total Score for such a school to be perfectly acceptable for my children. This decision could well allow me to buy a suitable house for $500,000 rather than the $600,000 it will cost in the next school district which is similar in all respects except the API score.

The 2nd and most important piece of advice is to find one or more suitable neibourhoods, then go and visit the local school(s) during the normal day. Every school I know is delighted to allow future parents to do this and thereby get a real life idea about the quality of the school.


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Many Buyers in my market area (Silicon Valley, CA) will research schools to decide where they want to buy. Unfortunately the Acronym Zoo makes it difficult to actually dig out the truly relevant information. In a small effort to help with this I’ve put together the following basic descriptions of each of the normal acronyms used.

APR (AccountabilityProgress Reporting) is the California State mandated system to measure current performance of schools.

API (Academic Performance Index) is the result of the measurement process and is a unique number for each school.

AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress ) and PI (Program Improvement) reports are the results of a Federally mandated program with a different focus.

API measures the performance and progress of a school based on statewide tests at grades 2 through 12. It produces a numerical rating between 200 and 1,000. Depending on the current rating, each school receives a target for improvement over the following year, expressed as a percentage. The higher the current score the lower the percentage increase required until at 800 the requirement is to maintain that score.

AYP is used to drive and monitor progress toward a common goal for all schools. This goal is that all schools must have 100% of students achieve proficiency in English-language arts, and mathematics by 2014.

To truly understand how to interpret these go to the California Dept of Education site. This will give links to details for all these and related systems.