'Nation's Report Card' Gives Top Scores to Fourth, Eighth Grade Skills
SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Unified's eighth grade students showed dramatic gains in mastering math skills in 2008-09 and fourth graders also raised their scores, according to results of "The Nation's Report Card" for urban school districts, released today.
Both grades 4 and 8 continued the upward trend in nearly every student group, with eighth graders rising 8 points over the last test in 2007 and 16 points higher than when the first test was administered in 2003. These eighth-grade students continued the improvements they made as fourth graders, when a similar increase was registered.
"This goes to show what sustained progress and determination by our hard-working teachers and students means over the long run," said Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent. "Not only is the increase this year very impressive, but the fact that these students were able to repeat their fourth grade success as eighth graders is even more noteworthy."
The "Report Card" is a product of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and began in 1969. The current results from the Trial Urban District Assessment compare 18 big-city school districts, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles and New York City.
The test looks at a level of proficiency above State of California standards and is designed to challenge the students in a number of areas. Among eighth graders, only Austin and Charlotte beat the national average of 282 points, while San Diego Unified was about equal at 280. A "basic" knowledge score was set at 262 points, while the large-city median was 271.
For fourth graders, proficient was set at 249 points, the average national score was 239, and the large city average was 231 points. San Diego joined Boston, Houston and Miami-Dade County at 236 points, surpassed by only the Charlotte and Austin districts. The basic knowledge score was 214 points.
The achievement gaps between student groups persisted in the 2009 scores. Nearly all student groups in the district saw improved performance compared to 2003. However, compared to 2007, fourth-grade performance declined for several student groups, including students who are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch, an indicator of their family's income.