SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

API scoring doesn’t tell the whole story

Recently, the API scores for SCUSD were released. I first realized this fact when I saw the front page of the current issue of Sacramento Magazine , which showcases a particularly interesting article called “Rating the High Schools.” In addition to providing the long list of scores received by area schools, the article provided 10 short interviews with students from some of the top schools. Not only did this add dimension to the “ranking,” it allowed readers to see a side of the schools that is often shadowed by the importance of API scoring. It is true that these scores can say a lot about a school – namely the quality of preparation received by the students – but what these scores don’t show is the personal side of a school. How are the sports programs? Are the teachers both personable and effective? Is the school safe, inviting, or even bearable, at the very least? These are all aspects that are often ignored by the API-centric “scoring” of our district’s schools.

As a result of this, many parents often overlook valuable schools because their scores are “inadequate.” As a tour guide at the majority of the tours for potential students at my high school, I often see parents make this mistake, the majority of their questions being based on testing. Unfortunately, this results in unhappy students — kids who either didn’t get what they expected from high school or were not pushed academically. For this reason, I advocate student choice when it comes to choosing a high school. Although sending a kid to the school with the lowest API in the entire city is not necessarily the best idea, neither is sending them to the highest-rated one, if that’s not where they want to go. Is the quality of a school’s test scores really going to affect a student’s academic drive, or will their high school experience (or lack thereof) result in the greatest individual success? Therefore, although I see the California Standards Testing as being a valuable asset to the ranking of high schools on a base level, one must truly examine a high school as a whole to see its true value.

~Jordan Feri

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Written by triplejf

June 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm

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