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Turlock schools see improvement in state test scores
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The Turlock Unified School District saw a continued growth in test scores, as the newest Accountability Progress Report was released by the state on Thursday.

The district recorded an 8-point gain in its Academic Performance Index, or API, going from a score of 772 in 2011, to 780 in 2012.

“Our district is 20 points away from reaching our 800 target,” said TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto.  “During the past four years the district has shown a significant growth with all subgroups.  Our Hispanic subgroup grew 64 points, our Socio Economic Disadvantage 68 points, Special Ed 55 points, and our English Learners with 70 points.  Their improvement is truly remarkable.  I am confident that we will reach our target by next year.  We’re really trying to narrow that gap, and it’s really paid off.”

A school’s API is a number that ranges from 200 to 1,000 and is calculated from the results of each student’s statewide tests.  The state has set 800 as the API target for all schools to meet.  Schools that fall short of 800 are required to meet annual growth targets until that goal is achieved. 

Four TUSD schools scored above 800, Dennis Earl Elementary (808), Julien Elementary (806), Medeiros Elementary (855), with Walnut Elementary Education Center, which recorded the highest score in the district at 871.

Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy, the district’s only Spanish-English bilingual instruction school, saw the largest growth, gaining 42 points (757 in 2011 to 799 in 2012).

Wakefield Elementary dropped points for a second year in a row losing 12 points in 2012 and 9 in 2011.  Brown Elementary recorded a nine point loss, and Dutcher Middle School dropped 13 points.

“Wakefield is our biggest concern,” said Da Marto.  “The district is working hard to turn the scores around by providing the teachers with instruction support, writing support, intervention strategies, and professional development in training to ensure our students receive the best instruction in the classroom.”

While the API scores measure growth in test scores year to year, the Adequate Yearly Progress numbers show whether schools are meeting No Child Left Behind standards.  The intent behind No Child Left Behind is to have every child in the U.S satisfy reading and math proficiency rates by the year 2014.

“For three years the District and all subgroups showed steady growth.  In spring 2012 a slight decline occurred at the District and subgroup levels, however, all subgroups still show growth over time,” said Da Marto about the district’s failure to meet AYP goals.

In the spring 2012, 61.8 percent of the White subgroup scored proficient or advanced, while only 45.1 percent of the Hispanic, 42.1 percent of English Learners, 43.5 percent of the SED, and 24.1 percent of the Special Education subgroups scored proficient or advanced — meaning there is still an achievement gap in mathematics and English language arts.  TUSD also failed to meet its graduation rate goal for 2012.

Denair Unified School District gained 10 points (730) in its API, while Hilmar Unified lost five points (780).