San Diego Unified’s National Assessment Scores Increase in Reading and Mathematics

Posted: Tuesday, April 10th 2018


Results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, released today by the U.S. Department of Education show San Diego Unified School District outperformed other large urban districts by demonstrating significant grade-level gains in both reading and mathematics.

San Diego Unified is the only large urban district in the nation to register significant test score increases compared with 2015 in both reading and mathematics in fourth grade, with notable gains made by students eligible for subsidized meals.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
San Diego Unified Scale Scores Overall, 2003 to 2017 

“San Diego Unified stands out as a hub of academic excellence and innovation, where students learn and thrive thanks to the dedication of our teachers,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “The NAEP results underscore the incredible teaching and learning that’s occurring in San Diego Unified schools every day.”

San Diego Unified performed significantly higher than public schools in large cities across the nation for both grades four and eight, and in both reading and mathematics. The district also significantly outperformed public school students in California in all areas except grade eight reading. 

“San Diego Unified School District blew the socks off this cycle of the Nation’s Report Card, which measures progress on reading and math at grades four and eight. No other city in the country saw gains in both grades in reading and math like San Diego,” said Mike Casserly, executive director for the Council of the Great City Schools, the organization that represents 69 of the nation’s largest urban public school districts. “The gains are evidence of, and testimony to, the serious academic work the school district has been doing over the last several years.”

San Diego Unified continues to rank in the top third of all participating large urban districts in both grade levels and subject areas tested in NAEP. Among 22 districts with growth data available, San Diego Unified ranks third in reading growth for both grade levels, and fifth-highest in mathematics growth also for both grade levels.

San Diego Unified scores increased for eighth grade as well, but the gains are not considered statistically significant.

The district’s 2017 results appear to mitigate a substantial score drop it experienced in fourth-grade mathematics in 2015, which was attributed largely to challenges that came with the first-year implementation of the Common Core mathematics curriculum.

With the latest results, the district’s long-term data since 2003 resume a generally upward trend overall and for most of its student groups. 

San Diego Unified and 26 other large urban districts across the nation including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade, and New York City participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) component of the Nation’s Report Card. NAEP TUDA has been providing district-level reading and mathematics performance results in grades four and eight every two years for the past 15 years.

The Nation’s Report Card, first administered in 1969, is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in subjects such as mathematics, reading, science, and writing. Standard administration practices are implemented to provide a common measure of student achievement.

The 2017 administration of the national exams marks NAEP’s official transition from a paper-based assessment to a digitally based assessment.

For more details on San Diego Unified’s scores and more information on NAEP, please visit www.nationsreportcard.gov. 

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Media contact: San Diego Unified School District Communications Director Maureen Magee, 619-725-5578.

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