In Partnership with The 74

Looking for a magnet program? Here’s how parents can use the newly published data on test scores at LAUSD’s magnets

Sarah Favot | November 28, 2017



Bancroft Middle’s robotics team. The Hollywood school has a STEAM magnet. (Courtesy: LA Unified)

Before LA School Report published a new district database that breaks down state standardized test scores at LA Unified’s magnet programs and schools, parents weren’t able to compare which magnet programs were academically successful and which ones weren’t.

Many magnets are a “school within a school,” but the state does not report student scores at a magnet center separately from the traditional school where the magnet is housed. Now with the new data, parents can look at how magnet programs are doing — a critical tool for parents who have applied to magnet programs and will decide this spring where to send their child next year.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to identify a magnet program that might fit your child’s interests and how to use the new database to look up students’ past academic performance at the magnet you’re interested in.

Let’s say your daughter was interested in robotics and you wanted to send her to a middle school that had a STEM focus. You would apply to a STEM magnet school through the district’s new unified enrollment system.

You go to the district’s eChoices webpage and use the “selection tool” and drop-down menus to select magnets that have a science, technology, engineering, and math focus, and you also think your child might qualify for a gifted program for sixth grade, and a result is Bancroft Middle School in Hollywood.

To see how students at Bancroft’s STEAM magnet performed on state tests last year, you would look up Bancroft in the data published here. The new district data break down Bancroft’s scores into its Performing Arts and Gifted Science Technology Engineering and Math magnets and the scores of students who attend the traditional school campus.

It shows results from 2016 and 2017 and how the scores changed from year to year. It also shows the percentage of low-income, English learners, and foster youth who are enrolled in each program.

Here are the results on a graph to more easily see the differences in the numbers listed above.

 

This graphic shows 77 percent of the students in the STEAM program were proficient in English last year (a 4 percentage point increase from 2016) and 65 percent were proficient in math (a 5 percentage point increase).

But it is a gifted program, so students must show the ability or strong potential to work two grades above their grade level.

You can also see that 83 percent of the students in the STEAM magnet are from low-income families — just about the same as the district average of 84 percent — and 3.3 percent are English learners, much lower than district’s average of 25 percent, which is also the average on Bancroft’s traditional campus.

Before the data were published, the only available data were published by the state, which only has the scores for the entire school.

You would have had to go to the state’s website, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, where results on state standardized test scores are listed to see how students at Bancroft performed on the Common Core-aligned tests.

You select LA County and LA Unified in the drop-down menus and you get confused because you don’t see Bancroft listed under B. So you Google search “Bancroft Middle School LAUSD” and you discover the actual name is Hubert Howe Bancroft Middle School.

So you go back to the CAASPP site and you find the school under H.

This is what you see for the English language arts results for the tests taken last spring: sixth-graders were 30 percent proficient in English.

Bancroft Middle School students’ results on the English portion of the CAASPP in 2017.

Scroll down and this is what you would see for math: sixth-graders were 16 percent proficient in math.

Bancroft Middle School students’ results on the math portion of the CAASPP in 2017.

The average for all sixth-graders in LA Unified, not including independent charters, was 37 percent in English and 28 percent in math.

Here are the links to the data for you to peruse.

  • Here is the complete data set from the district including magnets, traditional schools, and charters. The data show 2016 and 2017 results.
  • Here is the data set for English scores at magnets, charters, and traditional schools ordered to show schools with the highest 2017 English scores first.
  • Here is the data set for math scores at magnets, charters, and traditional schools ordered to show schools with the highest 2017 math scores first.

When looking at the spreadsheets, make sure to click the tab at the bottom titled “KEY” to help you identify what the codes mean.

• Read more: EXCLUSIVE: For the first time, parents can now compare student achievement at all LAUSD magnets

• Here are the high- and low-performing LAUSD magnets

Read Next