Magazine article District Administration

ETS Pulliam's Focus on Standards Drives Student Scores Past Expectations: Paramount High School Showed Significant Improvement in Almost Every Area

Magazine article District Administration

ETS Pulliam's Focus on Standards Drives Student Scores Past Expectations: Paramount High School Showed Significant Improvement in Almost Every Area

Article excerpt

CASE STUDY:

Paramount High School

In the fall of 2001, Paramount High School was identified as a "1-1" school. In California, that meant that the school was in the bottom ten percent of schools in the state. Even worse, it meant that within its comparison band of schools with similar demographics--inner city, low socio-economic, high-diverse community--Paramount High School was in the bottom ten percent. And this was the school's third year of Program Improvement.

At this point, a letter went out to parents offering to pay for transportation to move their student to other high schools. But PHS was not alone. Most of the schools in Paramount Unified had been identified by the state as low-performing.

The new district superintendent turned to ETS Pulliam and its program improvement model, Focus on Standards. The high school began a planning process to secure state funds, and took the first step of Focus on Standards: aligning course curricula to the Essential Standards.

Results came quickly. By Spring 2002, scores showed significant improvement in almost every area. Paramount increased its Academic Performance Index by 7 percent and went from an API of 477 to 522 (on a scale of 200-1000). But there was still work to be done: only 20 percent of tenth-graders passed the math portion of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) in 2002.

In the 2002-2003 school year, teachers created pacing documents and interim assessments (steps two and three of Focus on Standards) and began a series of whole-school interventions recommended from their data analysis. Literacy and Math Enhancement courses were created, and funding was used to provide classroom coaching and support. Teachers implemented a fully aligned and paced curriculum.

By spring of 2003, results showed huge increases in achievement. The school improved overall by 18 percent, and the API went from 522 to 568. …

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