Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | The California Department of Education on Tuesday released its 2004 Academic Performance Index numbers, which indicate how well students at each school in the state are doing academically. Numbers have been given to over 8,000 California public schools.

Using complicated formulas, the state crunches student test score data to derive a single API number between 200 and 1,000 to rate the school’s achievement level. The state has set 800 as the target number.

Besides API numbers, Tuesday’s data also provides the rank for each school on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the highest) to determine its standing based upon comparisons with all other schools statewide. Schools have also been ranked 1 to 10 with other schools sharing similar demographics. In both of these categories – Statewide Rank and Similar Schools Rank – there are 10 deciles, so 10 percent of all schools will fall into each decile.

This year’s median score for all elementary schools in the state was 730, continuing a steady increase since receiving a score of 629 in 1999, the year the program began. The median score for California’s middle schools in 1999 was 633, and this year it was 696. For high schools, the median score in 1999 was 620, and for 2004 it was 668.

Although scores are rising, the number of all schools statewide meeting the target number of 800 fell, from 21.7 percent in 2003 to 21.4 percent for 2004.

For more details and full reports, visit the API Web site.

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