Education officials offered no single explanation for the drop in scores, but several blamed successive years of budget cuts and the transition to a new curriculum. On the 200 to1,000 API scale, Santa Clara County schools scored 837 and San Mateo County schools scored 827, both one point lower than adjusted scores from last year.
In San Jose Unified, which saw many double-digit declines, several schools last year changed teaching to match the new national Common Core curriculum. "It's difficult to be assessed on one set of standards when you know you have to shift to another set," Superintendent Vincent Matthews said.
Still in the South Bay and on the Peninsula, scores remain well above the statewide API of 789, which fell by two points from last year. The state assigns nearly every public school and district an API score, which is derived from standardized exams including the STAR tests and high school exit exams administered in the spring.