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New Performance Tracker Gives San Diego Unified High Scores

Students at Kellogg Elementary School stretch before the schools first annual year-end fitness fair in Chula Vista, May 26, 2011.
Kyla Calvert
Students at Kellogg Elementary School stretch before the schools first annual year-end fitness fair in Chula Vista, May 26, 2011.

The San Diego Unified School District performed well under California's new school accountability system that was launched statewide Wednesday, according to district officials.

The district achieved the "green" level, which is the second highest level and the state target, on four of the five indicators — suspension rate, graduation rate, English language arts, and mathematics. On the fifth indicator, English learner progress, the district mark was "yellow," or median performance.

"I'm extremely pleased with how San Diego Unified performed compared to other large districts across the state," Superintendent Cindy Marten said. "Our scores show real growth and strong results in nearly every category."


The California Department of Education's new School Dashboard Report replaces the Academic Performance Index, or API, which relied on test scores to produce a single score that offered a limited view of school performance.

"As school leaders, we have always believed our students achieve more when we challenge them to accomplish, more while providing the opportunities and supports they deserve," Marten said. "Our rising graduation rates — on track to be the best in the state of any large district — are proof of this belief. That is why we are tremendously excited about the new state accountability report."

For each state indicator, districts, schools, and student groups receive a color-coded performance level.

The performance of state indicators are color-coded based on the status or latest results and ranked as "very high," "high," "medium," "low," or "very low."

The growth or change, which is the status compared to the previous year or years, are labeled as "declined significantly," "declined," "maintained," "increased" and "increased significantly" in each area.


Each circle has a different number of segments that corresponds to a specific color. The five performance levels are blue (highest), green, yellow, orange and red (lowest).

Marten said the dashboard "offers a multi-dimensional look at our schools, and allows us to focus on the success of each and every child in a comprehensive way."

The Dashboard does not include individual student results. Those results, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress numbers, are sent home annually via mail.

"The new standards go beyond single test scores and measure our progress lifting up every student we serve," Marten said. "As such, we believe they will provide parents with a valuable tool they can use to engage their local schools in serious and substantive conversations."

Detailed performance information is provided in four reports for each school, including an equity report on the performance level of all students; a status and change report on the current performance and change over time; detailed reports on year-by-year data for the state and local indicators; and a student group report on performance of various demographic groups.

The first year of the accountability system will be a field test, intended as an early model that will be fully implemented after feedback and adjustments.