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State audit recognizes SFUSD’s approach to preparing students for college

Press Release

The California State Auditor recently submitted a report to the Governor and legislators titled “College Readiness of California’s High School Students: The State Can Better Prepare Students for College by Adopting New Strategies and Increasing Oversight.” In the report San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is cited as an exemplar district that has provided students access to college preparatory coursework and set high expectations for graduates, while ensuring supports and interventions to keep students on track.

Auditor Elaine Howell states “Our analysis suggests that students attending school districts that establish higher student expectations, coupled with relevant tools and student support, are more likely to meet those expectations. San Francisco Unified School District’s college preparatory coursework completion rates were significantly higher than the other two districts we reviewed.”

SFUSD is recognized for using a variety of approaches that contributed to relatively high college prep course completion rates. The audit uses a multitude of factors to review each district’s progress in preparing students for college, including the fact that in 2010 the district aligned its graduation coursework requirements with the minimum coursework requirements necessary for admission to University of California and California State University schools.

“The State Auditor’s findings validate and affirm that we have strong practices that are bringing us closer to reaching our goal of graduating all students college and career ready,” says Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh. “We remain committed to ensuring access to rigorous college preparatory coursework to every student.” 

Of the three districts the State Auditor examined, it found that SFUSD’s college preparatory coursework completion rates were significantly higher than those of the other two districts: 69 percent of students in SFUSD compared to 30 percent and 21 percent in the other districts. 

Although SFUSD’s completion rates for underrepresented minorities ranged from 26 percent to 41 percent, they were two to three times higher than those of the other districts.   The analysis also suggests that districts that establish higher student expectations -- coupled with relevant tools and student supports -- are more likely to reach those expectations.


The audit

Over the last year, SFUSD was audited by the California State Auditor regarding student access to (and completion of) college preparatory coursework (known as “a-g”) needed for admission to the state’s public university system. The audit covered years 2013 through 2015.

The audit points out several key SFUSD successes:

  • Aligning its graduation coursework requirements with  the minimum coursework requirements necessary for admission to UC and CSU;

  • Implementing a data driven process to identify students who have fallen off track and providing timely interventions for those who have fallen off track; and

  • Dedicating significant resources and support to help its students succeed, including:


  1. Robust credit recovery options (“San Francisco offers more comprehensive programs to assist struggling students than other districts reviewed”)

  2. Use of grants to provide targeted micro funding for schools to support a variety of intervention and credit recovery

  3. Systemic district wide identification of students who are at risk of not meeting coursework requirements (on/off track data)

  4. Intervention meetings held by school based counselors with students and parents which notify them of off track status and credit recovery options

  5. A centralized process for submitting, managing and tracking a-g course certification process that helps ensure the accuracy of its college preparatory efforts

  6. Investment in carefully thought out and adequately funded systems of support (Summer School, Evening School, Online Learning, Saturday School)

A full report is posted on the State Auditor’s website.



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Page updated on 03/08/17