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San Diego Unified School District is trumpeting its successes today, as 2011 results for Standardized Testing and Results (STAR) testing were released. Every year the state tests students in grades 2-11 in English and mathematics, with select grades being quizzed science and history. The goal is for students to be labeled as “advanced” or “proficient” in their knowledge of various subjects, with substandard results labeled as “basic,” “below basic,” or “far below basic.”

Showing across-the-board gains, San Diego Unified saw a three percent increase in students scoring “proficient” or “advanced” in English and a two percent gain in math. The district claims top honors among large school districts in the state for English, with 59 percent passing. Last year San Diego tied San Francisco Unified, with both districts reporting a 56 percent pass rate. By comparison, 49 percent of Sacramento students, 44 percent of their Los Angeles counterparts, and 39 percent in Fresno were ranked as proficient or advanced.

“I congratulate all of our students, teachers and staff for this outstanding result," said superintendent Bill Kowba. "This continued progress comes despite some of the most trying times in the long history of our district.”

"The significant and sustained improvements we've seen for nine consecutive years prove how hard teachers, school employees, administrators, and parents are working to help students achieve despite budget cuts that have affected our schools," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a news release.

San Diego’s 51 percent advanced/proficient rate in math was topped only by San Francisco (56 percent) and Garden Grove (60 percent). Science scores were also near the top, tied with San Francisco with 61 percent passing and surpassed only by Garden Grove at 64 percent.

While the improvement in scores of minority children continues to outpace that of whites, a large performance gap remains. Taking English, for example, Hispanic students have improved proficiency by 16 percentage points since 2007, African-Americans have improved 13 percent, and whites only 12 percent. But despite the improvements, only 44 percent of Hispanics and 46 percent of African-Americans are ranked proficient or advanced. White children have an 81 percent ranking of proficient or better.

Complete test results are available at the Department of Education’s website.

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Visduh Aug. 15, 2011 @ 3:53 p.m.

At least Kowba didn't brag that HE was responsible for the gains. Here in No County, we had Noonan bragging about HIS achievements in O'side and we have had "Aunt Bee" Bales doing the same in Vista. Let's hear it for colorless, modestly-paid superintendents of schools. Several of the districts in the county with their chest-beater "supes" could use a Kowba-style person in charge.


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