METHODOLOGY
DATA SOURCE
We used English language arts/literacy (English) and mathematics results from the 2014-15
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) research files for our
analysis and CDE’s Public School Directory database for general information about schools.
SCHOOL SAMPLE
The school sample is limited to traditional charter and public schools serving students between
grades K-12, as defined by CDE. For example, our sample does not include juvenile court
schools, schools with selective admissions, or alternative “independent study” schools.
Two schools were categorized by CDE as traditional elementary schools, but we excluded them
from the sample because their school names suggest that they are non-traditional (e.g., the
school name was “Independent Study Elementary”) and, therefore, not comparable to other
schools in our sample.
CALCULATIONS OF PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS MEETING OR EXCEEDING STANDARD
To allow for fair student achievement comparisons across all schools, particularly schools with
irregular grades served, we used schools’ grade-span served to break out their rates of meeting
or exceeding the state standard into elementary, middle and/or high school grade levels.
Elementary was defined as grades K-5 or schools that served grades K-6 and no higher grade.
Middle was defined as grades 6-8, or schools that served grades 5-8, 5-9, or 6-9 and no lower or
higher grades. High was defined as grades 9-12, or schools that served grades 8-12 and no
lower grades. Schools that served grades in more than one school level category were included
in comparisons for those school types. Note that only grades 3-8 and 11 are tested in English
and math so only these grades are represented in schools’ achievement results. Table 1 shows
the distribution of school levels in the Bay Area and the rest of the state. The majority of
schools were categorized into one school level.
Table 1. Distribution of school levels, by region.
School Level Categories
Elementary
Middle
High
Elementary & Middle
Middle & High
Elementary, Middle & High
TOTAL
# of Bay Area
Schools
717
209
157
86
19
8
1,196
# of non-Bay Area
Schools
4,066
1,170
1,616
953
359
296
8,460
STATE AVERAGE CUTOFFS
Schools were included in our top performing lists if the proficiency rate for low-income African
American or low-income Latino students in English or math on the 2014-15 CAASPP was equal
to or higher than the state average in a given school level (elementary, middle or high) and
subject (English or mathematics) for all students, and if the percentage of students tested in a
given subgroup (low-income and African American or low-income Latino) of all students tested
in the school was equal to or higher than the state average percentage of that student group.
The percentage of low-income African American and low-income Latino students served in
schools was not always available, so the percentage of these student groups tested was used as
an estimate of students served. Tables 2 and 3 show the state averages for these rates. The
percent meeting or exceeding standards was calculated as a sum of the percent meeting and
the percent exceeding, so as to be easily replicable with the CAASPP test results website
(http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2015/Search).
Table 2. State average % of student groups tested (all schools in state, including nontraditional schools)
Student Group
Number
Mean
Std. Dev.
Min
Max
Low-income & African American
9,724
5%
9%
0%
100%
Low-income & Latino
9,765
41%
30%
0%
100%
Table 3. State average % of student groups meeting or exceeding the state standard in
traditional schools, by subject and school level
Student
Group
School
Level
English
Math
English
Middle
Math
English
High
Math
English
Elementary
Math
English
Middle
Math
English
High
Math
Elementary
Low-income
& African
American
Low-income
& Latino
Subject
Number
1,491
1,491
795
798
347
348
4,715
4,718
1,980
1,981
1,154
1,145
Mean
20%
14%
24%
13%
35%
10%
26%
21%
29%
18%
46%
17%
Std. Dev.
13%
11%
14%
10%
16%
9%
11%
11%
12%
10%
16%
11%
Min
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
Max
85%
73%
88%
64%
83%
50%
94%
88%
92%
88%
98%
91%
ADDITIONAL EXCLUSIONS
After applying our criteria, remaining schools were examined to ensure consistent performance
across all grade levels served. Two schools at which low-income African American or lowincome Latino students met our criteria in one grade level but did not in others were excluded.
Also, an additional school was excluded because it used selective admissions during the 201314 school year (the year in which CAASPP was administered).
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151218 - Extended Methodology