Did Charter School Students Stay Home on Test Day?

Although a blog claims lower-achieving Oxford students didn't show up for STAR testing, state numbers indicate otherwise. Oxford's participation rate was higher than average in Capo Unified.

Charter school students who are now under investigation for allegedly cheating on standardized testing took the exams at a slightly higher rate than students from across the Capistrano Unified School District.

On Sunday, the left-leaning Orange Juice Blog published unattributed accusations that Oxford Preparatory Academy officials encouraged poorer-performing students to stay home on days the Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, exams were given in the spring.

But Sue Roche, superintendent for Oxford, said Monday when contacted by Patch: “The test participation rate will speak for itself.”

STAR results are part of the equation used to calculate a school’s Academic Performance Index score, a standard for measuring a school's success. Each school must have a 95 percent participation rate to meet federal accountability requirements, according to a document from the California Department of Education.

The state released STAR results in August, and they include participation rates, which show that 96.7 percent of OPA students took the English language arts test. 

The only grade level that dropped below 95 percent was the third grade, which saw 88.9 percent of its students tested. According to the state, OPA had 63 third-graders enrolled, and 56 took the tests.

OPA Chancellor Jason Watts said he wasn't sure why the third-grade figures were lower than the other grades. He does believe there will be some slight adjustments to the final participation rates.

"There were some students who had disenrolled in February far before the tests," Watts said. But they show up in the total enrollment figures. Once they're removed, the participation rate will go even higher, he said.

Overall, OPA students took the STAR at slightly higher rates than Capistrano Unified students districtwide. Comparing a similarly aged population of second- to eighth-graders, 96.2 percent of Capo students took the STAR tests. Extending that number through to 11th graders, 96.3 percent of Capo’s students participated.


Oxford Prep  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th  7th  8th Students Enrolled  72  63  54  70  62  33  28 Students Tested  70  56  53  69  60  32  27 % of Enrollment  97.2   88.9   98.1   98.6   96.8   97  100   

CUSD  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th  7th  8th Students Enrolled  3,710  3,874  3,804  3,909  3,957  4,026  3,985 Students Tested  3,674   3,722   3,616   3,731   3,778   3,872   3,822  % of Enrollment  99  96.1  95.1  95.4  95.5  96.2  95.9
concerned parent October 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Shelly, I already did. In case you didn't get it, I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the constant rumors/speculation regarding OPA and its possible expansion when there hasn't been a peep about the location for a school that the district is saying will be in place by September. Silly me. Just not big on double standards.
concerned parent October 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Love the "evil rumor" bit.
Pipes October 16, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Yes. I have participated in the Journey School as a parent since it's inception in a little house in southwest San Clemente. In my opinion, it is too bad Waldorf Education is not more readily available in public schools nationwide. I mentioned that at one time a few teachers were correcting the student's answer's on the STAR test at the Journey School and the district was made aware and it was not leaked to a blogger. As required in their charter, Journey School students take the STAR test and they spend several months preparing for it. Although I believe they score at the bottom districtwide. I agree with your impressions of the Journey School families and their collaborative efforts at campus beautification, but it is irrelevant to my comments about the below market rate lease they received under Mr. Brick's presidency on the board. OPA should have been leased the Journey School site. OPA could have filled the entire campus with students, (again, additional revenue for students) whereas Journey School still cannot. It made fiscal sense to move OPA to Foxborough and Journey School to share Barcelona campus. It is the CUSD students that feel the pain of the lack of revenue in the end.
Pipes October 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Currently, I have a child attending OPA. I am impressed with the professionalism from the administration and the rigorous academics from my son's teachers. We were not asked to provide his report card prior to admittance (neither were any of the other parents I have asked), so the idea that OPA racially or academically profiles prospective students is nonsense. What I did encounter at OPA last year was very bitter, disgruntled and very vocal about it Barcelona employees and parents. What surprises me is that so many people posting here do not understand the concept that charter schools are not costing the district anything. They are pure revenue for the district. Clearly there is a desire and a need for alternative forms of education than CUSD is able to provide independently, as evidenced by their shrinking enrollment (except high school) Shame on them for making OPA their scape goat to mask their poor decisions.
Capo Parent Too October 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
So, then why is there something about Fair Facility Use on their newsletter right under them discussing a new K-12 charter in CUSD? Isn't that Prop 39? Support Fair Facility Use for Oxford Prep! Calling All Oxford Prep-SOC Parents and Supporters: Please come to the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board meeting this Monday evening, October 8th, at 7:00 p.m. to show your support for Oxford Prep's fair Facility Use Agreement (FUA). Oxford Prep SOC parents and supporters are asked to WEAR TEAL to show their support at Monday's CUSD Board meeting. Please do not bring signs. We request that children be left at home. We thank you in advance for your support! Monday's Board meeting will be held at the Capistrano Unified School District office, located at 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=7wkxw9dab&v=001YzRvM3yRJwR2THWvvyplEf6F2npSMqcich-3CVjxHREC9hBNHqibCCu8XdmSJJwbas6qEOugt6S0Ywo2w-wwOebVTBlSkEFQScbXul6rsM9zuCfBe_6fSNbcTtvHCC8afXllMw7fIfYRFJs80XvU8vJrk2Os6SDZg3SkFa-IJN70eHKmMPJX4w_91MjbOKq3guyYuOcth8EMFyu4NWYtaqFEK-pVlx_fGSmwaJ3Hm1k7eOhXhx4lx3LaBXWQKGuWfS72iAqQAFTS-OmJTs66p6qpqWn41liB4igC6FXL26tzwUi0OkBoLiomuQPdev-ZBQCq5mb2OKoILH9TflqJYF8ohsXzCXwXY41QU3BjbLMg5pp5iyEaSFShPRmChsyx7U6_p6wvNZTrIj1yVxy4MM6bsOdVUeTViNCMCql1fD6oEMC1ULHoZktFdJqTtCW4FcEsyU-uC15IlQNpgFkCh_EMCc4Wng-e&id=preview
Capo Parent Too October 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM
But it's fine that there have been plenty of "leaked" documents against the district? OPA is a public school and CUSD is it's chartering agency, they are not a private school and must be held to the same standards. Unfortunately when the investigation is over, I think there will be many OPA parents who will be disappointed and saddened.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM
CP2, that has to do with the CURRENT facilities use agreement, which isn't even signed. You can read the district's perspective in the PDF attached to the follow-up story here; http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/cusd-charter-school-disagree-whose-job-it-is-to-investigate-cheating-allegations#pdf-11675497 You'll see, the district and CUSD have not yet agreed to several points regarding the current use of BH.
Proud OPA Parent of 3 October 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Capo Parent Too, the Facilities Use Agreement referred to in the OPA newsletter you reference pertains to the current OPA K-8 school at BH. Although this is the second year OPA has occupied that campus, CUSD has still not executed a Facilities Use Agreement. OPA is precluded from maintaining the property and completing needed repairs without the executed agreement. This matter is completely separate from the proposed OPA K-12 charter school which would be a second OPA school somewhere within the CUSD boundaries. OPA has not identified nor requested any specific sites or properties for the proposed K-12 school. In fact, OPA has not yet submitted its charter proposal for the K-12 school.
Capo Parent Too October 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Thank you Penny for clearing this but, but can you see how that's confusing?
Capo Parent Too October 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Because Charter's and Magnets are different, Magnets tend to be put on sites that have low enrollment in order to draw people to want to move their kids there. I doubt any children would then be displaced from a current school. It's different.
concerned parent October 17, 2012 at 12:01 AM
So I understand CPT, that means an entire school wouldn't be converted to the magnet? And if it did affect an entire school, how is it different than it being converted to a charter school that moves into a site with falling enrollment?
Capo Parent Too October 17, 2012 at 12:06 AM
According to Wikipedia this is how a Magnet works: Districts started embracing the magnet school models in the hope that their geographically open admissions would end racial segregation in "good" schools, and decrease de facto segregation of schools in poorer areas. To encourage the voluntary desegregation, districts started developing magnet schools to draw students to specialized schools all across their districts. Each magnet school would have a specialized curriculum that would draw students based on their interests. One of the goals of magnet schools is to eliminate, reduce, and prevent minority group isolation while providing the students with a stronger knowledge of academic subjects and vocational skills.[10] Magnet schools still continue to be models for school improvement plans and provide students with opportunities to succeed in a diverse learning environment.[11] So the whole point of a magnet school is to place it on a site that has low enrollment and draw other students to that site. Why would they then displace those students on that site? It goes against the idea of a "Magnet" school. If it is a true magnet school, then no students will be displaced but the students at the chosen school will be included in the magnet.
Not Fooled October 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Hey Kids First, Can't you foces on positive success in your own backyard?! I think you have alternate motives to your comments and energy which are not putting kids first. My daughter hit the Advanced Level in LA for the first time. She worked hard and couldn't wait for the test results. I personally know that SVUSD has had opt out meetings with students that are two years behind in school. The parents are given the same choice and that way the test scores are not in student's file, but I am sure it helps the schools. It may not sound right, but is a practice that I bet CUDS does as well. You are hinting that you have some inside scoop about parents and teachers?! That sounds like a staff person or trustee is talking about allegations and that is inappropriate. It also sounds like you've been in a think tank to serve your some other cause. Why don't you really spend your time really putting students first?! Fight for the district to spend their money in the classroom.
Honestly tested October 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
OPA in chino had approx. 900 students "enrolled", and approx. 300 students "enrolled" that are home-schooled, but come to school either Tuesday & Thursday or Mon. , Weds, Fri.- three days a week. So we are looking at approx. 1200 students. When I called the school that's what I was told. So, minus Kindergarten and 1st grade, we are still missing 100 (at least) kids tested, right? DO THE MATH!!!! And that's being generous with the numbers.......Is there some loophole we are unaware of? By the way, in 5 years we have NEVER heard of "opt-out" even as an option until a friend of ours told us about it who goes to OPA!!!!!! Does someone have an answer to my question??? And OC parent- of course you may have a child sick or out of town, etc- but not at this level! Please account for that difference.
Honestly tested October 17, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Party of 5--- Thank you for your honesty- there is nothing wrong with people wanting answers when things don't sound right. Why get so vicious? Get the answers to the questions asked. This affects ALL kids, not just yours. My goodness!!!!! Call the school and find out!!! I know you want to be "thrilled" at your child's scores, but if it was improperly achieved, I SURE would want to know Never be afraid of finding the truth.
Honestly tested October 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Local Parent....... Really???? Try not to worry about people's spelling. Try your best to focus on the issue at hand. Did that make you feel better? FOCUS!!! :)
Honestly tested October 17, 2012 at 01:16 AM
NOBODY ever said the kids cheated...........
Honestly tested October 17, 2012 at 01:23 AM
CUSD is only responding because of complaints from parents. YOU focus on all enrolled, (home schooled included) and find out how many "opted-out" (per subject portion) and how many tested. Do YOU have the energy?
shelly October 17, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Yeparoo, Do you really need to resort to this kind of response. I am not a member of a union but I think unions serve a purpose for their members and if the members didn't believe this then they would disband. I am a parent who asked a question on a comment board about an issue that someone brought up at the CUSD board meeting.. Penny answered it. Great. You may not but you seem to believe it would be an insult for someone to be a member of a union. Police, firefighters teachers are all members of unions. Do you have issues with these people?
shelly October 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Pipes, I agree with you on charter schools. I agree that not every school is a one size fits all. OPA is great for some but not for all. I do not know how the accusations of cheating occured so I will not comment. Hopefully for the sake of the OPA families nothing will come of it. You seem to love your school and choice. I would encourage OPA families to not insult other schools in order to try to get what you want. There is no need. Respect each others choices.
Ken O'Leary October 19, 2012 at 03:52 AM
There appears to be many people with hidden agendas commenting on this subject. My agenda (Ken O'Leary) is out in the open...I prefer the OPA school environment for my child, an 8th grader and I STRONGLY support OPA, Sue Roche, and Jason Watts, and we STRONGLY support their approach to learning! We can attest to VERY positive results with their approach and I say, wait for the investigation. OPA is innocent until proven guilty. I believe that the OPA teachers and administration love their kids and that their approach to teaching is inspired and something to be admired. I also appreciate the teachers at CUSD and the schoolboard and I know they too love kids very much and support their system and do not attack it as much as they seem to attack OPA, but one can only conclude in this situation that they may care more about their jobs and perhaps fear the threat of a charter school, so one can only greet the unfounded accusations about cheating with suspicion until proven otherwise. Until the evidence is presented, please reserve judgment. Do not put your energy into trying to shut down OPA! OPA is not perfect, but it deserves a chance to get established. I can guaranteed you the parents at OPA will fight to keep OPA open and we truly stand behind the board of directors and administration at OPA and the teachers at OPA. Concerned OPA parent.
The Walrus October 19, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Kids First...first of all, your name is an oxymoron! Second, State data shows that the "lowest performing kids" at OPA indeed took the test, while the Asian students happened to be the lowest participating group...which is the highest performing subgroup in the state...so you are plain WRONG...try again! "Numerous OPA teachers"??? Prove it! Didn't happen! This is fabricated by the Children's First group (which by the way, they are excellent at "fabricating" things now, aren't they?!). How much money of the campaign funds collected did Children's First pay someone to come up with this nonsense? Next lie...closing a high school. I called CUSD today and they said that no petition for a high school has been submitted by OPA. Furthermore, I asked someone on their staff if OPA has EVER named ANY high school in CUSD...the answer of course was no! So, what will be the next lie from Korpi and crew? Your efforts are pathetic, and if this much effort was put into making the district solvent, then maybe the good teachers of CUSD wouldn't be so worried about their jobs and vital programs for students.
The Walrus October 19, 2012 at 05:01 AM
@ Just the Facts...It includes ALL students. The state doesn't differentiate between home-schooled students versus students in a classroom. Also, remember that students in K and 1st don't test. You only need look at students enrolled on the first day of testing (that are eligible to take the test) versus those who took it. OPA is stating that once data corrections are made (and in talking with Capo, all districts make them to varying extents) , their participation rate will rise because some of the kids not tested were not enrolled. We'll see, but even if no corrections are made, they still met their AYPs for participation.
The Walrus October 19, 2012 at 05:14 AM
From "Just the Facts": "Here is a question for all-- How come OPA Chino had less than 900 students enrolled, plus over 300 students enrolled for in-home study who came to school 2 to 3 days a week (all considered "enrolled") equaling approx. 1200 or so students, minus kindergarden etc.- less than 900 tested? Where are the rest of the kids who should have tested????? We are missing at least 100 kids right? was there some loophole???" Yes, you ARE missing something. They only have 200 students in their homeschool program, Just (missing) the Facts! Actually, since I took the time to find the "facts", they had 1,076 maximum students last year since their district capped them, per Chino Valley USD staff, so you are off by 124 students.
Ed Gruberman October 23, 2012 at 06:27 PM
And I would encourage BH or any other anti-charter family to not insult OPA to get what they want as well.
enogh already October 24, 2012 at 05:05 AM
@kids first - apparently you slept through your math classes. If you take all students in this scenario who didn't take the test ( 3.7 %) and gave a them a score of 25% correct answers (let's assume they are really poor students) that would only result in a downward shift in overall average scores of 2.4%. Not exactly dramatic and not likely statistically significant. So... if the reported average score was 90 then the adjusted score as outlined above would be 87.8 instead. If you scored the missing students with zero it would only move the average downward 3.7 percentage points. This is a fact that can not be disputed. Math is math and it does not lie.
Rossco November 02, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Did the allegations of cheating occur when the test was taken or more recently when the results were revealed?
Proud Mom November 02, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Though the STAR test was taken in May, the allegations came up right before the official state results were revealed. There were two people who came forward - one was anonymous and the other is supposedly a CUSD employee. The unfortunate result from this witch hunt is that thousands of CUSD dollars have been spent in investigating these lies - monies which could have been better spent on the students of CUSD. In addition, OPA also had to spend money for the third party investigation - money which could have been better spent on OPA's students. After all is said and done, the parents of CUSD should be outraged.
Wrkingmom November 28, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I guess I am confused by the math above and please clarify... If the school enrollment is 620 for this time frame - the # enrolled reported is 382. By my math then the K and 1 enrollment is 238? That seems high when other grade levels are only 54 average? What enrollment numbers are being counted here?
Proud Mom November 28, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Wrkingmom - To answer you question - in the numbers above there were 382 students in 2nd - 8th as you stated . However, last year there were 4 kindergarten classes and 2 first grades - totaling approximately, 192 students, bringing the total to 574. Then you add the IS students which would bring the total even higher. The bottom line is that there were 2 accusations brought forward. One from a CUSD employee and the other anonymously. Pretty suspicious. OPA's investigation concluded that these accusations were false. In addition, even though OPA has requested CUSD's investigation's results, there are still none brought forth. Of course they haven't released the results, because the accusations are untrue. Don't know if you know the history of the last couple of years, but there are many parents who do not want OPA to succeed. They will grasp at straws to have the school close down. If it is not one thing, trust me, they will find another.


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