Mustang Valley leads in API results

By Carolyn Cole
Published on November 8, 2008

Mustang Valley Elementary teachers have 3,000 reasons to be disappointed that their students scored near perfect on the state Academic Performance Index.

The school received a 1498, two points shy of a perfect 1500 score and the state’s $3,000 per teacher incentive bonus.

It wasn’t Mustang Valley’s test scores, with an average 1526 in math and 1523 in reading, that fell short. Communications Officer Shannon Rigsby said it was likely the school’s attendance rate at 96.2 percent, which still led the Mustang School District, that cost them the two points and $3,000 per teacher reward.

It is possible the worse-than-average flu season last winter dragged down attendance, Rigsby said, but she added school officials still encourage sick children to stay home.

State and federal education officials use API scores to measure academic progress made with in a district and at individual school sites. API is scored on a scale from 0 to 1500, with the goal of all Oklahoma schools scoring 1500 by 2014. A score of 1500 ideally would indicate that all of a district’s students are proficient in reading and mathematics.

API takes into account math and reading test scores, the End of Instruction English II and Algebra I test results, attendance, dropout and graduation rates, ACT and Advance Placement test scores and college remediation rates.

While Mustang Valley teachers lament their near-perfect year, Mustang School District’s overall score continued to climb to 1362, a 27-point increase from 1335 in 2007. The district reported an overall attendance rate of 94.1 percent and a graduation rate of 87.4 percent.

Mustang also met academic yearly progress requirements for all student subgroups, including special education, low-income and English Language Learner students.

The score puts Mustang in the middle of the pack at 11th among school districts with large population high schools. In 6A, Edmond led school districts with an API of 1449 and four elementary schools that reached 1500 — Chisholm, Clegern, Cross Timbers and Russell Dougherty. Jenks was second with a 1425 and one elementary school with a perfect score.

Norman School District received 1391, and Cleveland Elementary received a perfect score for the second year. Moore School District scored 1385, and four elementary schools —Wayland Bonds, Earlywine, Eastlake and Fisher — received perfect API.

Yukon School District scored 1383, Stillwater, 1382; and Owasso, 1381. Owasso has two elementary schools with perfect scores.

Bartlesville School District scored 1372, followed by Broken Arrow at 1367. Both school districts have an elementary school with a perfect score.

Union and Choctaw-Nicoma Park tied for 12th in 6A with API scores of 1312, followed by Enid, 1303; Midwest City-Del City, 1302; Lawton, 1300; Sand Springs, 1294; Sapulpa, 1284; Putnam City, 1287; Ponca City, 1281; Muskogee, 1125; Tulsa, 1117; and Oklahoma City, 1074.

In Canadian County, Piedmont led school districts with a 1416 score, 33 points ahead of Yukon and 54 points ahead of Mustang. El Reno scored 1247, Calumet, 1225, and Union City, 1210.
Geoff Kingsley, MSD secondary curriculum coordinator, said officials focused on the high school level last school year, and it paid off. Mustang High School’s API climbed 117 points to 1337.

Kingsley said officials sounded an alarm when Mustang High School’s score inched up nine points from 1211 in 2006 to 1220 in 2007, and the school fell to 26th out of 31 6A-ranked high schools. He said educators were puzzled because the district’s ACT scores still ranked in the middle of the pack.
“It’s not a lack of intelligence,” he said. “It might be a lack of motivation.”

Officials gathered a “cross-section” of the student population to create an academic advisory council and showed them the statistics.

“The kids were really embarrassed,” Kingsley said.
The meetings sparked an informational campaign led by students to drive home the importance of End of Instruction exams to their classmates and encourage them to take the tests seriously. The students lobbied administrators to bring in a motivational speaker and to offer rewards to youth who score well on their tests.

Kingsley said educators listened, and youth who reach state benchmarks are now allowed a few minutes out of class before lunch or before the last bell to beat campus traffic. Yukon and Mustang have created a traveling academic superintendent’s trophy, and a Metro Area Conference academic trophy will start traveling next school year.

In its first year, Yukon High School, with its 1368 API, will get to keep the cross-county rivalry academic trophy. Kingsley said he believes playing on rivalries have helped — Mustang High School’s API is back in the middle of the 6A high school pack tied with Broken Arrow at 1337.

Edmond Memorial High School led 6A schools with its 1453, followed by Edmond North, 1441; Jenks, 1439; Norman North, 1437; Westmoore and Stillwater, 1416; Edmond Santa Fe, 1400; Moore, 1381; Yukon, 1368; Putnam City North, 1359; Norman, 1355; Bartlesville 1348; and Owasso, 1346.

Finishing up 6A, Enid High School scored 1290, followed by Choctaw, 1285; Putnam City, 1282; Ponca City, 1281; Sapulpa and Union, 1274; Del City, 1273; Lawton, 1272; Putnam City West, 1249; Midwest City, 1238; Sand Springs’ Charles Page, 1229; Lawton Eisenhower, 1216; Muskogee, 1120; Tulsa Memorial, 1077; Tulsa East Central, 893; and Oklahoma City U.S. Grant, 753.

Mustang Mid-High’s API score also saw a 108-point gain from 1254 in 2007 to 1362 in 2008. For this year’s ninth-graders, the EOI exams will have a bearing on their future. Before students were required to take the exam, but starting with the class of 2012, students must pass four EOI exams to graduate — two of which be Algebra I and English II.
Oklahoma law requires schools to offer remediation to any youth who fails to pass. Retakes will be offered three times each year starting next fall.

Kingsley said two additional testing administrators were hired to help with the workload, and they are still working out glitches in student databases between the state system and local school districts.

“All of this testing has created some unfunded mandates for schools,” he said. “You have to create positions, you have to buy computers. Testing is big business.”

This year, mid-high and high school students are also taking an advisory class twice a week, which is designed to help youth with test taking strategies as well as learn life skills and prepare for college. Kingsley said educators hope teachers will create bonds with their students and become mentors.

“If they (students) perceive nobody at the high school or mid-high cares, then why should they care,” he said. “I’m hoping that advisory creates some relationships to help the kids understand there are some people out there who do care about them so they will care a little bit more about how they perform.”

API scores held steady at the middle school level in Mustang. Mustang North Middle School received a 1362, down four points from 1366 in 2007. Mustang Middle School scored 1347 an increase of seven points.

Among elementary schools, Mustang Valley lead the way with a score of 1498, followed by Mustang Trails at 1387, and Lakehoma Elementary and Mustang Creek Elementary tied at 1377. In its first year, Mustang Centennial Elementary received a 1365 API score. Mustang Elementary received a 1323 API score.
Kingsley said Mustang elementary curriculum has placed an emphasis on nonfiction writing for their students.

“Research shows nonfiction writing where you write and you edit and you rewrite, that really affects achievement across all disciplines,” he said.


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