SANTA ANA — Lawmakers called for repairs to California’s sweeping school performance system after a newspaper reported it was so flawed that one in five students aren’t tested and millions of dollars were awarded based on unreliable scores.
“We need to look immediately at these injustices,” said state Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Garden Grove.
State Sen. Dede Alpert, the San Diego Democrat whose bill created the system, has asked the experts who created the process to fix it, the Orange County Register reported Wednesday.
The Academic Performance Index, or API, has an average error rate of 20 percent that was not publicly announced until July, although the program was passed by the Legislature in 1999, the newspaper said in a series of articles.
The state’s 7,300 public schools are judged by the results, which are used to dole out cash awards that can help a financially strapped school stock its library, playground or science lab.
But the statistical scheme penalizes schools with multiple ethnic groups even when they show more academic improvement than all-white campuses, the paper said.
The API was the centerpiece of Gov. Gray Davis’ efforts to improve California’s struggling schools. It was designed to measure academic performance and school growth with an academic scale that awards 200 to 1,000 points per school.