The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District continued to improve its overall score in the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) this year to an all-time-high of 835, a five-point increase over the 2008 base API, results show.

The 2009 API and federal Adequate Yearly Progress reports show continued, steady gains for the district overall, and the achievement gap between minority students and students with disabilities is also narrowing. The API measures the academic performance and growth of schools on a variety of measures.

“Our district mission is to increase achievement for all students while simultaneously closing the achievement gap,” SMMUSD Superintendent Tim Cuneo said.

“The 2009 API report speaks to the professionalism and commitment of our classroom teachers, school administrators, support staff and district staff. Based on these results, we will be moving forward with a strategic plan to focus on specific programs and projects that will yield continued gains for all students, and effectively close the pernicious achievement gaps that remain.”

The state’s Academic Performance Index is reported for the district as a whole, including select student groups such as African American, Asian, Latino, white, and economically disadvantaged. African American students achieved the biggest gain at 28 points. The API is also reported for individual school sites.

The state has set a growth target of five points over the 2008 base API for individual schools. For schools with an API over 800, the target is to remain at or above 800.

All of SMMUSD’s schools met their schoolwide growth targets for 2009, district officials said. SMASH, the district’s small alternative campus, was not awarded an API due to its small size and relatively low participation rate in standardized testing.

The district has also met nearly all of its federal Adequate Yearly Progress targets under the No Child Left Behind Act.