Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Nation's Report Card' Test Scores Again Show Growth

San Diego Unified School District students in grades 4 and 8 continued to show learning growth in improved national test scores in English and mathematics, placing the district ahead of California schools as a whole and in the top ranks of comparable large urban districts.

District administrators will use the results to focus efforts in key areas, such as the achievement gap between ethnic and economic groups. Although narrowed with some ethnic groups, the achievement gap persists.

The test also shows what has been working with students. Proficiency growth is 35 percent or higher in many areas since 2003. Fourth-grade students ranked better in mathematics than 16 of the other 20 districts.

The National Assessment of Education Progress, known as "The Nation's Report Card," began the Trial Urban District Assessment in 2002 with six districts; San Diego Unified joined in 2003. There are now 21 districts involved in the testing, which is designed to gauge student achievement on a national scale. The tests have been taken every-other-year since 2003.

"We're gratified by the serious learning by our students and hard work by our teachers over the last eight years," said Superintendent Bill Kowba. "These years have been extremely challenging for our district and students, with budget cutbacks and leadership turnover. It shows we have a dedicated workforce that stays focused on what's really important: student achievement."

The achievement gap continues to be a focus of teachers and administrators. African-American students lost ground in several areas.

"There were gains in the number of students identified as proficient on these tough tests almost across the board for all ethnic and economic groups," said Dr. Nellie Meyer, Deputy Superintendent for Academics. "However, these tests show us that our concentration on African-American students with the achievement task force is the right place to focus our limited resources."

A full report will be made to the board of Education at an upcoming meeting. More information is online at; the San Diego Unified report is online at