Overall San Diego Unified results from the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program in math, English language arts and science for students in grades 2-11 showed significant increases in 2009, according to results released August 18 by the California Department of Education.
In English language arts and mathematics, district scores improved at a rate higher than the last three years progress combined. Students meeting state standards in English language arts now total 52 percent, with math 46 percent and science 49 percent. Among California's nine largest school districts, San Diego's science scores are tops; only San Francisco and Garden Grove exceed San Diego's math and English language arts scores.
"Despite record budget cuts, our students and staff have continued to excel and continued to improve," said Superintendent Terry Grier. "This is a great example of the kind of hard work going on in our district and our shared focus on student achievement."
Grier pointed to several bright spots in the test score results for the district. Achievement gains for students in grades 2-5 were significant ranging from 6 to 8 percent. Grade 4 showed the most significant progress and the highest achievement levels with 64 percent proficient in English language arts and 68 percent proficient in math. Math scores continue to show significant gains in all elementary grades but achievement levels drop off at the middle and high school level. And, the persistent “achievement gap” between African-American and Latino students compared to white and other groups showed a slight one-percent improvement district-wide in English language arts.
"San Diego Unified is on the right path to improve student achievement levels and we should celebrate these results," said Grier. "Our teachers' focus on teaching California standards, the implementation of SMART Goals for our schools, the efforts of our principals to support our teachers and expanded use of student data have all combined to help us realize these test score increases."
Several schools had individual successes, with Correia Middle School in Pt. Loma narrowing its achievement gap, Edison Elementary School in City Heights increasing the number of English language arts and math-proficient students by 20 percent, and Kearny High School of International Business raising the percent proficient in English language arts and math by more than 14 percent.
"As we celebrate these results, we also need to recommit this district to maintaining our focus on student achievement," said Grier. "Our low achievement levels in our high schools and the wide achievement gap between students of color and our white student population remain unacceptable and will be our focus as we move forward."
San Diego's full results are posted on the district's website. Statewide results are available on the California Department of Education's website.