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Schools close in on their goals

Results are just below target level for Burbank schools in state-mandated tests.

March 31, 2007|By Rachel Kane

BURBANK — The Burbank Unified School District is close to reaching its goal for state-mandated test scores, according a California Department of Education report released Tuesday.

The report revealed Burbank Unified School District's Base Academic Performance Index score was just 18 points shy of the state target of 800.

The Base Academic Performance Index is a compilation of scores from three standardized tests students take throughout their school year that sets the bar for their targeted growth this year. Scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a state target of 800 points for all schools. Each year schools are required to improve their score until they reach that target.

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The percentage of growth the district is supposed to shoot for is determined by how far the score is from the statewide target of 800, with the minimum amount of suggested growth at five points a year.

Last year, the Burbank Unified School District more than met its target growth amount of five points, increasing from 2005's score of 770 to 782, according to the report.

"This is a state-mandated program, and the reasons the state did this was there was a realization that when we went to a standards-based curriculum, we needed to show that students were meeting those standards," school board President Ted Bunch said.

The district is expected to improve its score by at least five points in 2007.

"As long as we do that, then we're fine," Bunch said.

"Right now the district is doing fairly well. There are dips, up and down, and that will occur."

The same report also included the scores of student subgroups distinguished by race, socioeconomic status, English proficiency and disability.

More students with disabilities, which could range from mental to physical, in Burbank took the test in 2006 and there was a five-point decrease in API score for that subgroup.

"In reality, I don't get upset if there's a dip at a school at any one year," Bunch said

"I don't get particularly upset about it as long as the trend continues to go up."

The rest of the district's subgroups had improved scores.

In the category of elementary schools, Thomas Jefferson Elementary had an increase of 32 points up from last year's score of 851, making it the highest-scoring school in the district this year.

"Historically, most elementary schools do better and there tends to be a problem with high schools," Bunch said. "Middle schools and high schools. But we have done fairly well with Burbank."

All middle school scores increased, as did all high school scores.

District Deputy Supt. Joel Shapiro predicted scores would continue to improve in the district category and with the elementary, middle and high schools.

"We look back at our district API over the last several years and it's now 782 and if you go back over the last several years, we have shown consistent growth," Shapiro said.

"We are pleased, but always wanting to continue to emphasize higher achievement for our students."

The district board will discuss the API scores at its next meeting on April 19.

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