More details on those math scores:

  • Poor eighth graders in San Diego Unified scored higher than poor children in other urban school districts, and roughly on par with poor students across the country.

What does that mean? The national data include school districts in the suburbs and rural areas, which means it includes a lower percentage of English learners, for instance. So outscoring the nation, as an urban school district, is a pretty good feat. This is actually the first year that poor middle schoolers in San Diego Unified have outscored the national average for poor children on these math tests.

  • Poor fourth graders scored on par with their counterparts in big cities, but below the national average for poor children.

I’d be curious to hear from math educators in San Diego about this. What’s happening between elementary and middle school in math? And if we seem to be doing better than other urban schools in middle school, why is high school math still such a problem?

We’ve already noted that San Diego Unified was rare because its math scores rose in recent years, unlike other districts which saw them plateau after earlier gains. But those gains are only in the eighth grade, not in fourth grade, where scores didn’t grow as much.

If you want to see the pages of the report that are specifically about San Diego Unified, click here. I’m still combing through all these numbers, so please send me your observations and tips about the scores at


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