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 What Happened to the API Scores

​Parents may have noticed that they haven't seen any Academic Performance Index, or API, results for a couple of years.

Those calculations have been suspended across the state until next year, as part of the adjustment to a new set of academic standards in English language arts and mathematics and the development of a new assessment system.

The API results aren't expected to return until at least 2016, and they won't look the same as they have in the past.

California Education Code now requires the calculation of the API to be based on multiple measures and not only on annual assessments.

According to the law, no more than 60 percent of API can be based on assessment results. The remaining 40 percent needs to be based on other college and career indicators, including college entrance exams, accelerated coursework, attendance, early indicators of college readiness, innovative measures, course taking behaviors, and career preparedness.

Students across the state are taking the new assessments this spring. They are aligned with our new state standards, which were designed to encourage critical thinking, analytical writing, and real-world problem solving. These are skills students will need to be successful in college and career.

Parents will receive their children's results based on these assessments, even though the API won't be calculated this year.

The new assessments are an improvement over previous ones in many ways. There are fewer multiple-choice questions and more short answers and extended responses that will require a deeper understanding of key concepts. The computer-based testing includes embedded supports that will give students the opportunity to fully demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of the state standards.

The new content standards set higher expectations for students and the new assessments are designed to measure student performance against those higher standards, raising the bar for all students. The new assessments are fundamentally too different from the old exams to make reliable comparisons between old scores and new ones. Rather, this year's results will establish a baseline for the progress we expect students to make over time.

For more information about the assessments, visit the California Department of Education's CAASPP website.