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All Manteca elementary schools score above 700 in API testing
Jason Messer isn’t getting too caught up in the 2008 base Academic Performance Index figures released last Thursday by the state Department of Education.

“The similar-schools ranking is a bad indicator,” said the superintendent of Manteca Unified School District. “The state uses this big formula when comparing schools.”

According to the state, the similar-schools ranking compares a school’s API with the scores of 100 other schools that have similar demographic characteristics. The scale ranges from a well-above-average score of 9 or 10, to 1 or 2, which is well below the set average.

 As for the statewide ranking, the standardized test scores take into account a school’s API, comparing that score with all others schools in the state on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being high.

“I know our principals are looking at the numbers,” said Messer, who believes those set of numbers may not tell the whole story.
Take Mossdale, Neil Hafley and Woodward schools.

Hafley and Woodward both had a statewide ranking of 5 along with similar-school marks of 4 while Woodward’s numbers were 5 (statewide rank) and 2 (similar-schools).

At the same time, Mossdale (760), Hafley (765), and Woodward (760) had comparable API scores.

“Based on those numbers, we can’t say one school is better than another (in our school district),” Messer said.

Instead, he looks at the ongoing progress at Manteca Unified.

“All of elementary schools are 700 (API) or better,” Messer said. “We’ve done this together, from our students and teachers to our nutrition service staff.

“It’s a team effort.”

State-wide, the API goal is 800, with New Haven (814), Brock Elliott (805), and Veritas (804) achieving that mark.

Nile Garden (799) and McParland (796) are knocking on the door.

“Golden West (781) showed growth of 19 points from the previous year,” said Messer, who envisions that school along with Stella Brockman (778) and many of the aforementioned sites of hitting the state target.

He’s also optimistic about French Camp (759), a program improvement school receiving Title 1 funding, achieving 800 in the near future.

As a district, Manteca Unified’s base API was a seven-point improvement from that of the previous year, going from 724 to 731.

Messer and others from the district will be paying closer attention to the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) due for release in the fall.

AYP is a federal measurement established by the No Child Left Behind Act, measuring schools in four categories – graduation rates, participation on statewide tests, proficiency in language arts and math, and performance in the state’s accountability program.