SFUSD Ahead of Peer Districts in Students Meeting Standards

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SFUSD Ahead of Peer Districts in Students Meeting Standards

Press Release

The California Department of Education (CDE) has released the results of the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. Last spring, more than 25,700 San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) students in grades 3 to 8 and 11 took these state assessments.

For three years in a row, SFUSD is the only large urban school district in the state, serving more than 50,000 students, in which more than half its students met or exceeded Common Core Standards for both ELA (56%) and math (51%). The District’s proficiency rates for ELA and Math continues to be higher than the state.

In addition, the achievement gap for SFUSD’s focal student subgroups has slightly narrowed. There was a higher rate of change of African American and Latinx students who met or exceeded state standards this year than last year, as compared to the change in proficiency results for the entire District. The ELA and Math results for African American and Latinx students are the highest they’ve been since the CAASPP testing program began five years ago.

“Three years in a row we’ve been the only large urban school district that has over 50% of our students proficient in both English Language Arts and Math,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “This year’s results show the highest performance for African American and Latinx students in SFUSD since we’ve been implementing the California Common Core Standards. Our collective focus on giving each and every student the equitable support they need to thrive is making an impact.” 

Summary of School Highlights

Schools that have an overall proficiency rate above 75% in both content areas, ELA and Math, are Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Peabody Elementary, Ulloa Elementary, Yick Wo Elementary, John Yehall Chin Elementary, Lafayette Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Miraloma Elementary, Claire Lilienthal K-8, Lawton K-8, and Lowell High.  

John Muir Elementary, Grattan Elementary, and Lafayette Elementary have proficiency rates above 50% for African American students in both content areas, ELA and Math.

Schools that have proficiency rates above 50% for Latinx students in both content areas, ELA and Math, are Sunset Elementary, Yick Wo Elementary, Claire Lilienthal K-8, Roosevelt Middle, and Lowell High.

PITCH School Stories

In 2018, SFUSD announced an intensive focus on 20 schools where African American student achievement has been consistently lower than the district average or where the gap between students of other races and black students is widest. Schools in the PITCH (Professional Capacity, Instructional Guidance, Transformative Mindsets, Collaborative Culture, and High-Quality Staff) cohort are expected to create a plan from a shared set of proven strategies that are mapped to SFUSD’s strategic plan, including instruction that promotes student agency, authority, identity, and real-world, meaningful tasks. Educators at every PITCH school collect data as part of a structured improvement project and participate in a community of educators to reflect and learn.

Two PITCH schools that have shown marked improvements overall and with their subgroups — John Muir Elementary School and Presidio Middle School — attribute these successes to various best practices adopted at their sites.

In 2018-19, over half the students at John Muir Elementary School met or exceeded standards in ELA and Math, marking a more than 20 percentage point increase over the previous two years. In ELA, the largest increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards was for African American (AA) students (32 percentage points). In math, AA students also showed a high one-year change in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards (23 percentage points). Muir has built professional learning structures and a culture of collaborative inquiry among its teachers. The 2018-19 school year saw Muir implement a teaching process called Lesson Study schoolwide for the first time. Students at Muir are routinely given the opportunity to question, explain and revise their thinking with the input of others.

Another PITCH school, Presidio Middle School, has narrowed its achievement gap in ELA by double digits, and has made significant improvements in Math too. Some of their strategies include building the professional capacity of their teachers with trainings on equity, participating in academic conferences, and making time for teachers to participate in peer observations. African American students were provided with supportive structures for both academics and social learning, including electives, mentoring, and tutoring.


California is now in its fifth year of the CAASPP testing program. Students in grades 5, 8, 11, and 12 also participated in the new California Science Test (CAST), and those results will be released in December.


Page updated on 10/09/19

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