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September 12, 2006 > Academic performance improvements for FUSD

Academic performance improvements for FUSD

by Gary Leatherman

Test results released Thursday in the annual California Department of Education Accountability Progress Report show that the Fremont Unified School District gained nine points on the California Academic Performance Index (API) and made significant improvement in meeting the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB).

The district's 2005-06 API rose from an 833 base score to an 842 growth score on a scale of 200-1,000. Schools that score above 800 are ranked as "high performing." One subgroup at two elementary schools scored a perfect 1,000.     Twenty-two of 28 elementary schools, three out of five junior highs, and one of five comprehensive high schools scored at 800 or higher in their API. All FUSD schools posted API scores above 700.

NCLB requires that schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals in which a specified percentage of students must demonstrate proficiency in math and English language arts. Twenty-seven of 28 FUSD elementary schools met their 2006 AYP goals, as did three of five junior high schools and three of five high schools.

FUSD Assessment Director Jessica Zektser said the extraordinary achievements and improvements in district scores reported this year are reason for celebration, but they also point to a continuing concern for educators: the persistent gap between the academic achievement levels of students in the African American, Hispanic, English learner and socio-economically disadvantaged subgroups compared to white and Asian students. While all subgroups are making gains in the percentage of students who are testing as proficient, the rate of improvement of lower-performing students must be accelerated if the achievement gap is to be reduced, she said.

Zektser said the district staff's primary focus in the coming year will continue to be addressing the needs of students who are performing below the proficient level to improve their skills in the key areas of English and math.

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