The school’s Academic Performance Index (API) hit the 800-mark for the first time, a goal the school has failed to reach in the past.
API is a cumulative number derived from comparative academic scores among high schools. Students’ STAR testing scores are one of the most heavily-weighed components of the API.
“[The API increase was] well deserved,” said Brigitte Sarraf, Associate Superintendent for Educational SErvices of the MVLA District. “LAHS worked very hard to make this happen.”
The school’s 2007 API score is 802, up 5 points from last year’s score of 797.
“It’s a huge deal, because it is very difficult for high school to reach a score of 800 or more,” Assistant Principal Morenike O’Neal said. “It’s a big kudos to the teachers and students who performed too well.”
According to Principal Wynne Satterwhite, there was more more awareness of the importance of STAR tests in 2007. Students and teachers were more focused about the tests, taking the time to complete preparatory problems when testing time came near.
Not only has the school finally met the statewide performance target and avoided intervention programs from the state, it has exceeded the target, with every substantial demographic group at least maintaining its 2006 score, if not improving.
These sub-groups all met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements mandated by the state.
“We beat every one of the benchmarks,” Satterwhite said. “Every group was successful, so I’m very excited.”
Despite this success, the school could once again be below California state requirements if its API slips just a few points. In comparison to other competitive high schools in Santa Clara County, LAHS is one of the recipients of a lower API score.
Many neighboring high schools achieved higher API scores that also improved from their 2006 base scores. These schools all performed better than the school, raising questions as to why the school has not achieved a higher score.
“I think that this is a really capable school, and we definitely could get higher than 802,” junior Noor Nassar said. “It says that we just don’t care about STAR testing enough.”
According to Satterwhite, STAR testing is one of the only standardized methods that can test a school’s competence.
“It’s one of the single reference points [of academic excellence],” Satterwhite said.
Consequently, the API can easily determine a school’s credibility and may sometimes determine students’ credibility as well.
“The public judges us on these scores whether we like it or not,” Sarraf said. “Students should want to graduate from a school that has the best reputation and is considered academically strong and competitive. Colleges look at school performance.”
However,, the school is improving, which is a necessary step in maintaining and achieving its goals.
“We are making progress and that is what is important,” Sarraf said. “We have room to grow to bring our performance up to that of schools with similar demographics.”
The district and Satterwhite hope to continue improving the school’s API this coming year.
“I hope we continue to move forward and keep [API] in the front part of our head,” Satterwhite said. “Awareness is key.”