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San Diego Unified Surpasses State, Nation On Test Scores

The outside of the San Diego Unified School District Education Center is show...

Photo by Megan Wood / inewsource

Above: The outside of the San Diego Unified School District Education Center is shown on May 8, 2018.

While U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos described this year’s national results as “devastating,” San Diego Unified School District has outperformed the state and the country in both math and reading.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a test that’s administered every two years to fourth and eighth graders in urban school districts. At San Diego Unified, between 35 and 42% of test takers met proficiency with scores surpassing state and national averages.

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

Superintendent Cindy Marten attributes this success to a focus on reading, specifically training teachers across grades and subjects to become literacy experts, especially for the youngest students.

“That happens through investment in early literacy,” Marten said. “And that’s been key to the strategy in San Diego Unified.”

Marten described the district’s approach to literacy as a “student-centered” model that requires teachers to collaborate to meet individual needs.

The district defied some downward trends state and nationwide. For eighth grade reading and math, both national and state averages slumped since 2017, but San Diego Unified saw a two-point increase.

However, historical achievement gaps persist for black, Latino and socioeconomically disadvantaged students both locally and nationally. Marten said the district will use the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress to examine the gaps within individual schools and classrooms.

“National large data sets like this will always illuminate where the gaps are,” she said. “When you see gaps in student achievement, you wanna understand: What are you doing to interrupt those gaps early?”

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San Diego Unified School District outperformed state and national averages on math and reading tests. Hear from superintendent Cindy Marten about how the district has become an academic outlier. Plus, ... Read more →

Aired: November 1, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Joe Hong

Joe Hong
Education Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs an education reporter, I'm always looking for stories about learning. My favorite education stories put a student's face on bigger policy issues. I regularly sift through enrollment data, test scores and school budgets, but telling student-centered stories is my top priority.

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