LANCASTER – More Antelope Valley schools are doing as well or better academically than other California schools with similar student bodies, new state test rankings show. Of 90 local schools, 45 scored at or above the average test scores in 2005 for schools with similar student bodies – such as proportions from poor families or families that don’t speak English at home, according to Academic Performance Index reports released Tuesday. In the previous year, 31 of 89 schools scored at or above similar schools’ scores. On a scale of 1 to 10, the similar-schools rankings let educators see how a particular school’s performance stacks up with performances at otherschools that face some of the same challenges. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 A rating of 9 or 10 signifies that the school’s API is well above average for schools with similar characteristics; 7 or 8 is above average; 5 or 6 is about average; 3 or 4 is below average; and 1 or 2 is well below average. The schools are grouped by demographic characteristics including students’ mobility, ethnicity, family socioeconomic status and ability to use English. Factors also include percentages of teachers who are fully credentialed or hold emergency credentials, average class sizes, and whether schools are operating on a multitrack year-round education calendar. A 10 in similar-schools rankings for 2005 went to Agua Dulce Elementary and High Desert Middle schools in the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District; Esperanza and Quartz Hill Elementary and Hillview Middle schools in the Westside Union School District; and Challenger Middle School in the Wilsona School District. The API reports also show how individual schools compare with all others throughout California, regardless of their student body makeup. A rank of 10 is the highest and 1 is the lowest. In these conventional rankings, 32 Antelope Valley schools scored in the bottom 20 percent, up from 25 the prior year. Four local schools scored in the top 20 percent of schools statewide. They were Bailey Avenue and Irving L. Branch elementary schools and Desert High School in the Muroc Joint Unified School District on Edwards Air Force Base and Leona Valley School in the Westside district. All four schools scored a 9. Last year, two Antelope Valley schools scored in the top 20 percent: Bailey Avenue and Leona Valley. Created by a 1999 state law, the API is designed to show how California schools rate against each other. Each school receives a single score – between 200 and 1,000 – based on students’ test scores. State officials have set 800 as the target they would like all schools to reach. State schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell said the data released Tuesday show California schools at every level are making steady progress toward reaching the statewide performance target of 800. The percentage increase in high schools scoring above the 800 mark outpaced increases in middle and elementary schools in 2005. “I am particularly pleased to see that our focus on high schools is paying dividends,” O’Connell said. “I believe the California High School Exit Exam has been a key driver of progress as our students concentrate on learning the standards. It has also resulted in more focused instruction and individualized attention for struggling students. We still have a long way to go to improve our high schools, but I applaud the rate of improvement and hope that we can increase the pace.” Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!