High School Students Significantly Improve API Scores

Students at Temple City High School displayed monumental improvement in a state-mandated standardized test by increasing their Academic Performance Index (API) score by 16 points.

Last spring, the California Department of Education administered its annual California Standards Test (CST) to ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students statewide.

The API score is derived by inputting CST and California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) scores into a formula that is designed by state officials and educators.

Temple City High School students had already boasted an impressive API score of 806 for the 2006-2007 school year, well above the California high school average of 728. This made the 2007-2008 year’s jump to 822, still significantly above the new state average of 742, even more remarkable.

While no single reason can explain such dramatic improvement, Principal Mary Jo Fosselman King cites many contributing factors.

“It’s a combination,” noted King, “of our teachers doing a good job and our students taking the test seriously.” King also joked that she “bribed” the students with slightly longer lunches, with which the students will be rewarded roughly once a month.

It is important to note that the California Department of Education slightly tweaks its scoring formula every year in order to more accurately represent our schools. Still, it is unlikely that such modifications accounted for a sixteen-point shift.

Ultimately, the school does not actually gain any monetary benefit for the students’ improved scores.
“We don’t get anything from the state for our CST scores,” said King, while adding, “though it does look better when others look at our school.”

As commendable as our district’s scores have been, the high school principal does not believe that the scores are and accurate representation of our education system.

“For me, [our API score] is small; for everybody else, it’s big,” explained King, “it’s not a good measure of our school unless you look at our student body, our co-curriculars, and things like that.”

Nonetheless, King and other educators in Temple City wish to continue building on this success.


This article was written by Jason Wu. It was published in the Temple City Voice on September 24, 2008.


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