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San Diego City Schools Hit State Performance Target

— The San Diego Unified School District's Academic Performance Index score -- summarizing students' performance on a series of tests -- rose by 10 points in 2011-12, surpassing the state target, according to figures released today by the California Department of Education.

The district's score went from 798 last year to 808. Possible scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a performance target of 800. About 53 percent of the state’s schools hit or exceeded the target this year.

This is the first year San Diego Unified as a whole reached that target. And Ron Rode, the district's deputy superintendent of accountability pointed to programs targeting English Learners and several other student supports put in place over the last six years as the sources of the district's steady increases on state tests.

“We’ve been consistently going up with double digit increases with the API score over the last few years," he said. "So this is a culmination of that long-term growth and meeting the state target is a great accomplishment for a unified, urban school district.”

San Diego Unified has the second highest academic performance score of any large, urban school district in the state this year. And is one of just three to pass the 800-point mark.

The statewide API score increased by 10 points, from 778 last year to 788, the CDE reported.

In the SDUSD, 93 schools met or exceeded the 800-point score, up 53 percent over last year.

The highest score at the elementary school level was 991 by Torrey Pines Elementary School. For middle schools, the best was 934 at Marshall Middle School in San Carlos. Scripps Ranch was the top high school with a mark of 900.

According to the state, 53 percent of California schools met or exceeded the 800-point bar in 2011-12, up four percentage points from the previous year.

API reflects growth in student achievement from one year to the next. It is determined by results on the California Standards Tests in English, math, history/social science and science, and the California High School Exit Exam.

"We've set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.

"The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there's still more work to do, California's schools have earned a vote of confidence."

Statewide, 59 percent of elementary schools, 49 percent of middle schools and 30 percent of high schools met the state API benchmark.

Elementary school scores statewide increased by 7 points to 815, while middle schools jumped 14 points to 792 and high schools increased 11 points to 752.

The large school districts in San Diego County that did not post API scores of 800 or above were:

-- Escondido Union, 759, up eight points from last year;

-- Grossmont Union High, 734, up 10 points;

-- Oceanside Unified, 788, up nine points;

-- South Bay Union Elementary, 788, up 12 points;

-- Sweetwater Union High, 794, up 10 points; and

-- Vista Unified, 798, up seven points.

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