California has implemented a variety of testing and reporting programs to gauge the performance of individual students and/or assess the progress of each school in raising student achievement. Student tests are aligned to the state content standards and annual progress reports conform to federal reporting requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The various testing and reporting programs are outlined below. In the boxes on the right side on this page, links to the state reporting sites are provided.
API: Academic Performance Index
California utilizes the Academic Performance Index (API) to measure year-to-year improvement in the academic success of each school in the state. The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. Each year, schools have a minimum growth target they are expected to reach. This target varies according to each individual school’s API score at the start of the school year.
API scores are released twice annually. The API Growth score is compared to the API Base; the change between each school’s scores reflects the progress the school has made from one year to the next.
School rankings are included with the annual API Base report. Statewide rankings compare each school’s API to all other schools in the state, while similar school rankings compare schools with common characteristics. Both rankings use a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest.
Learn more about the Similar Schools Rank system and look up your school’s rank over a five-year period.
AYP: Adequate Yearly Progress
The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report is aligned with federal accountability requirements. The report assesses whether or not each school has met statewide minimum performance levels for each school year. Specific performance criteria and targets are evaluated and the school is awarded a Yes/No status for each component of the AYP. These performance benchmarks will be raised annually until 2014, when all students in all schools are expected to be proficient in English-language arts and mathematics. Schools that receive federal funding are subject to Program Improvement requirements if they do not meet AYP performance levels.
CAHSEE: California High School Exit Exam
All public school students are now required to passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) to earn a high school diploma. Students take the exam for the first time in tenth grade. If they do not pass the test as tenth graders, they have multiple opportunities to re-take the exam during their junior and senior year.
CELDT: California English Language Development Test
The CELDT is a required state test for English language proficiency that is given to students whose primary language is not English. It is administered to newly enrolled students who speak a language other than English at home, then given annually to all students who are learning English as a second language. The purpose of the CELDT is to identify students who have limited English proficiency, determine their level of language proficiency, and assess their progress in acquiring listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills in English.
STAR: Standardized Testing and Reporting
All students in grades 2-11 are tested annually under the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. Tests cover the four core content areas – English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science – although only selected grade levels are tested in science and history-social science. These tests are aligned with the state’s content standards. Parents receive their children’s individualized test results and the state provides summary STAR reports by grade level for each school. These reports state the percentage if students who are at each performance level, from advanced to far below basic.
The California Department of Education hosts a Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) website designed to give parents and teachers a better understanding of the California Standards Tests that measure how well the public education system and its students are performing. It features actual test questions that students have faced at every grade level. The site is searchable and offers grade-level parent guides.
Find the percentage of proficient students in your school
SCOE hosts a Percent Proficient Lookup page that displays successive years of student performance data for English language arts and mathematics. The report presents the percent of students who attain “proficiency” as measured by California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system and High School Exit Exam.