Governor signs bill to redefine the Academic Performance Index for High Schools

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 28, 2012

This week Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills aimed at improving education in California.  Among them was CMTA-supported SB 1458 by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).  This measure redefines the Academic Performance Index (API) by requiring less reliance on standardized test scores and a greater incorporation of other valuable performance factors, such as graduation rates and student readiness for college and career.

The API currently serves as the State’s primary measurement tool for school and pupil performance.  However, the API’s effectiveness at highlighting attributes that indicate workforce readiness has been limited by its overreliance on standardized tests.  While current law requires the API to consist of a variety of indicators, including the Standardized Testing and Reporting program tests, the California High School Exit Exam, attendance rates and high school graduation rates, the only indicator currently being used to calculate the API is test scores.

SB 1458 limits the application of test scores to account for no more than 60 percent of the API score at the high school level and allows the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and the state Board of Education to include other performance evaluation factors and develop a system of local school quality review.  The bill also directs the State Superintendent to develop methods to increase the emphasis on science and social science performance, which currently carries little weight.

According to Senator Steinberg, “By balancing testing with factors like graduation rates, and measuring how prepared our students are for entering college and the workforce, SB 1458 will spur the system into delivering higher quality education combining real-world relevance and academic rigor.”  “I’m pleased the Governor agrees that test scores alone are hardly a true indicator of the success or failure of our students,” he added.

To view Senator Steinberg’s press release on SB 1458, click here (

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