In This Issue...
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
(1) O'Connell Releases Data Showing Most
Schools Improve API Scores; Meet Federal AYP Criteria
Source: California Department of Education
More than 60 percent of California schools improved their
Performance Index (API) scores, leading to an overall 10-point
in statewide API scores this year, State Superintendent of
Jack O'Connell announced on Tuesday. More than 60 percent of
successfully met their 2004 federal Adequate Yearly Progress
"I am encouraged that student achievement in more than half our
continues to be on the rise," O'Connell said. "However, the
percentage of schools reporting API growth (64%) was a decline
record high of 90 percent posted last year, and that is in
the mixed statewide test results reported earlier this month."
"Over the past six years, growth in student achievement has
a focus on high standards that has helped thousands of students
higher levels. This year's relatively flat test results and
slowing of schools' growth on the API indicates that we need to
ourselves and refocus our efforts on those reforms that have
been so successful
at so many of our schools."
One of the factors that contributed to the growth of API scores
was a reduction in the percentage of students scoring far below
on statewide assessments, especially in mathematics. The far
performance category represents the lowest level of performance
rigorous California Standards Tests.
This year, 64 percent of California schools met the federal AYP
compared to 54 percent last year. A major factor leading to the
results appears to be a dramatic increase in the number of
in the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). In 2003, 35
of all large high schools failed to make AYP based solely on
rate. In 2004, only 14 percent fell short simply because of
Unlike the API, which reflects growth in student achievement
year to the next, the AYP measurement reflects simply whether a
and all of its significant subgroups of students met a single
for achievement in a single year. A school not meeting AYP may
far short in every category, or miss the mark narrowly by
of many criteria measured. In both cases, however, the
"not meeting AYP" is the same.
"The fact that 317 of our schools grew 30 points or more, yet
to make the federal benchmark, illustrates why I believe a
of accountability such as we have here in California more
actually student learning," O'Connell said.
This is the first year that the California Department of
releasing 2003-04 API growth results (for school and local
levels only) in conjunction with the 2004 AYP results. The
Child Left Behind regulations mandate that schools be notified
AYP standing prior to the start of the traditional school year
those in Program Improvement (PI) may begin implementing as
early as possible
those required services, such as allowing children in
to relocate. API growth is one of the elements that determines
a school makes it over the AYP status bar.
The 2004 Accountability Progress Report can be found at
The complete 2003-04 API growth results, including subgroups
not a part of this report), and targets will be released on
and Program Improvement (PI) status will be released on October
(1) Glossary of Terms for the 2004 Accountability Progress
California Department of Education
(2) California Assessment News
(2) Governor Schwarzenegger Establishes California Service
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-14-04 on
25, establishing the California Service Corps. First Lady Maria
will serve as honorary chairwoman and will lead the expansion of
service and volunteer efforts.
"Through the California Service Corps, you can mentor needy
feed the hungry, assist battered women, help Americans with
shelter the homeless, and carry out acts of kindness that will
our communities, our state and our country," said Governor
"Through this effort, you can work to protect our homeland through
the Citizen Corps, work full-or part-time in service to those in
AmeriCorps or Senior Corps, help enrich our national and state
Take Pride in America, or work full-time or part-time in more than
around the world through the Peace Corps or Volunteers for
I ask every Californian to answer my call to service. Join the
of conscience, uplift the lives of others, and bring new meaning
The California Service Corps will assist Californians to identify
service opportunities designed to strengthen and support the
Service Corps will serve as the stateÍs lead agency for community
and volunteerism and will partner with other public and
to leverage greater resources.
"California's greatest natural resources are its people, who are
million strong. No matter your age, no matter what country or
were born in, if you live here you're a Californian. I am asking
to join me in serving and strengthening our great state," said
"Serving others is as easy as dishing out food in a kitchen line,
blood, planting a school garden or building a neighborhood
you bear responsibility for California and serve the Golden State,
a member of the California Service Corps," said Maria Shriver.
For additional information about opportunities
for serving with the California Service Corps and more
the members of the California Service Corp Commission, call
or visit http://www.csc.ca.gov
(3) "School Is an Experiment in Learning"
by Cara Mia DiMassa
Source: Los Angeles Times - 27 August 2004
When school opens Sept. 9, Angela [Lincoln-Manuel] will be one
students at the Science Center School, a joint venture between
Angeles Unified School District and the California Science
"I love my life," admitted Angela, dressed in the new school's
plaid pinafore uniform and standing to one side of a massive
building in Exposition Park.
Once a National Guard armory, the building has been reinvented
school's "Big Lab" and is part of an architecturally unusual
campus that includes classrooms partly underground.
The Science Center School will offer its elementary students a
focused on science, math and technology, said Los Angeles school
member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who represents the
The $50-million campus is one of 160 schools the district is
to build by 2012. About $34 million for the project came from
Science Center, the child-friendly museum that will share some
with the school. The district kicked in about $8 million in bond
--the cost of one of its regular elementary schools. The rest of
came from state and other sources.
The Science Center School is an affiliated charter within L.A.
as such it will have more autonomy than a regular district
school but less than an independent charter.
About 70% of its students come via lottery from six overcrowded
schools in the neighborhood, and 30% are students who applied
to the school from around the district and elsewhere.
Speaker after speaker at the dedication ceremony [on August 26]
on the school's long and slow progress from conception to
When the Science Center and school leaders first envisioned the
George Deukmejian was governor of California. Thursday, he was
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)
"US Team at 45th International Mathematical Olympiad Has Best
in 10 Years" by Harry Waldman
Source: Mathematical Association of America
Before the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, there was another
Competing against teams from 84 countries at the International
Olympiad, the US team, comprising six students, outdistanced all
team from China to capture second place in the 2004 competition,
in Athens from July 4-18. That was the best showing by a U.S.
in ten years. The team from Russia came in third [Vietnam in
Bulgaria in fifth place].
The IMO is the preeminent mathematical competition for high
around the world. This year there were 485 students in the
Most countries were represented by six students; smaller nations
as Luxembourg and Cuba sent only one or two students to the
Each student had to solve six challenging problems in nine hours
two days. Each problem was worth seven points. The maximum
number of points
any student could attain was 42; the team 252. The US team total
only eight points shy of China's total.
Individually, competitors won medals for outstanding and elegant
There were 45 gold medals awarded overall. The US team took six
the most it had won in any IMO since 1994, when it also won 6
All US team members were winners: Oleg
MA) took a gold with 40 points; TianKai Liu (Saratoga, CA) was
a gold medal with 38; Aaron Pixton (Vestal, NY) garnered a gold
and Alison Miller (Niskayuna, NY) and Tony Zhang (Arcadia, CA)
gold medals with 33 points each. [Alison is the second female
qualify for the U.S. team. The first female, Melanie Wood, won
medal in 1998 and 1999]. Matt Ince (Arnold, MO) won a silver
a score of 31 points.
The MAA sponsors the US team through its American Mathematics
program, which is headquartered at the University of Nebraska,
Steven R. Dunbar [800-527-3690] is the director. Training for
at the University of Nebraska was aided by a grant from the
Travel support was provided by a grant from the Army Research
additional support came from the National Council of Teachers of
Society of Actuaries, Mu Alpha Theta, Casualty Actuarial
Statistical Association, AMATYC, AMS, American Society of
Art of Problem Solving Inc., Pi Mu Epsilon, USA Math Talent
Math Institute, and INFORMS.
[Cancun, Mexico is the site of next year's Olympiad.] The
IMO website is http://www.imo2004.gr
(2) Science News For Kids; MatheMUSEments;
Science News for Kids is a Web site devoted to science
children ages 9 to 13.
Our goal is to offer timely items of interest to kids,
suggestions for hands-on activities, books, articles, Web
other useful materials.
Our emphasis is on making the Web site appealing by offering
opportunities to comment on the subject matter, ask questions of
featured in articles, try out mathematical puzzles, and submit
work for possible Web publication. At the same time, we are
in offering teachers creative ways of using science news in
contains articles about math in everyday life. The column is
Ivars Peterson, who is the online editor of Science News
News for Kids. Peterson is also the author of several
books, including The Mathematical Tourist, and, with
two math books for kids: Math Trek: Adventures in the
and Math Trek 2: A Mathematical Space Odyssey.
Peterson wrote the following article, "Champion Paper
which was published in the July/August 2004 issue of Muse
and available online at http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/puzzlezone/muse/muse0704.asp
You've probably heard that it's impossible to fold a sheet of
half more than seven or eight times. Usually you're also told
doesn't matter how big or thin the sheet is.
Try folding a sheet of notebook paper. You'll probably find that
pretty tough to get beyond eight folds. However, just because
experts--say something's impossible doesn't mean it is. That's
student Britney Gallivan discovered when she succeeded in
folding a sheet
in half an unheard-of 12 times. She had to solve the problem to
credit in one of her math classes.
Why is it hard to get past eight folds? Suppose you're just
one direction instead of turning the paper 90 degrees between
time you fold, the thickness of the folded wad doubles and its
halved. If you start with a standard sheet of paper, after seven
the wad is thicker that it is wide, and it takes too much
fold it again.
Analyzing the problem this way, however, you might begin to
you could beat the limit by folding something very, very thin or
very, very wide.
At first, Britney tried thin. She spent hours trying to fold
newspapers, and any other flat material that she could get her
Paper didn't appear to work, so she decided to use gold
millionths of an inch thick. Working with soft artists' brushes,
and tweezers, she managed to fold a 4-inch-by-4-inch square of
in half 12 times without tearing the extremely delicate sheet.
But that wasn't good enough. Britney's teacher said the problem
fold a sheet of paper--not gold foil--12 times.
Determined to solve the problem, Britney tried again. This time
to go for width. If she used paper that was the same thickness
paper, she calculated, she would need a roll that was nearly
long (about three-quarters of a mile) to be able to fold it 12
She found special toilet paper that met these requirements and
a roll for $85.
Equipped with her jumbo roll, Britney went to a shopping mall in
of Pomona, California. She unrolled the paper and marked the
It took three people (Britney and her parents) 7 hours, mostly
and knees, to complete the folding.
"The problem was a lot of work, a lot of frustration, a lot of
and I learned a lot from it," Britney later wrote in a booklet
her accomplishment. "The world was a great place when I made the
You can order a copy of Britney's booklet at www.osb.net/Pomona/12times.htm
(Historical Society of Pomona Valley).
(3) "1026 Remains Average SAT Score" by
Source: Pioneer Press - 1 September 2004
Average SAT scores nationwide did not change in 2004 though some
groups made modest improvements. Last year's high school
1026 on average, the same as the class of 2003, the College
Tuesday. Average scores on the verbal section rose one point to
math scores fell one point to 518. Each section is graded on a
Nationally, ...the average scores masked racial gaps, and some
critics worry they will widen with the introduction of a
that includes a written essay.
While gaps between non-Asian minorities and other students show
system of unequal education," test administrators said, they
they were encouraged by improvements among Hispanics.
Students identifying themselves as Mexican-American saw their
nine points to 909. Scores from those identifying themselves as
Rican were flat at 909, but students in the "other Hispanic"
category increased their scores five points to 926.
However, students identifying themselves as "other" saw scores
drop 12 points, the most of any group.
Scores for students identifying themselves as black were flat at
while scores for whites fell four points to 1061. Nineteen
students did not respond to the question about their racial or
Also, boys scored 44 points higher than girls, the widest gender
1993. Boys scored 512 on the verbal section and 537 on math,
to a year ago. Scores for girls rose one point on the verbal
504 and fell two points on math to 501.
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant
California Mathematics Project.
COMET is produced by:
Carol Fry Bohlin, Ph.D.
Professor, Mathematics Education
California State University, Fresno
5005 N. Maple Ave. M/S 2
Fresno, CA 93740-8025