Del Mar Schools rank third in state in math, English test scores


Del Mar Union School District students earned the highest test scores in San Diego County on the 2018 Smarter Balanced Assessment tests and are in the top 1 percent performers in the state.

Out of 1,026 elementary school districts in California, the Del Mar district placed third in English language arts and math.

Third through sixth grade students took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests in the spring—87 percent of Del Mar students met or exceeded the standards in English language arts (ELA) and 84 percent met or exceeded the standards in mathematics.

“We have very hard-working and thoughtful teachers as well as very strong site and district leaders who continue to be grounded in a strong academic core and are providing high-quality instruction which provides the foundation for our students’ academic success,” said Vivian Firestone, coordinator of assessment, data and integrated technology. “The performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessments help to confirm the great work that is being done in our district on behalf of our students.”

When comparing grade level results, the district’s sixth graders significantly outperformed state and county students: 87 percent of sixth graders met or exceeded ELA standards compared to 55 percent in the county and 47 in the state. In math, 84 percent of DMUSD sixth graders met or exceeded the standards in math compared to 44 percent in the county and 36 percent in the state.

The test also looks at student performance in “claims,” such as reading, writing, listening, research/inquiry in English language arts and problem solving and data analysis, concepts and procedures and communicating reasoning in math. Ninety-five percent of DMUSD students were above standard in the claim of research and inquiry and 93 percent were above the standard in math problem solving.

At the board’s Oct. 24 meeting, DMUSD Trustee Scott Wooden asked what the district is doing for that 2 to 3 percent who are not meeting the standards, representing around 15 students in a grade level.

Firestone said school level teams look at each individual student’s progress to ensure that they are providing differentiated instruction in the classroom and work to find ways to provide “targeted intervention” and support to help them succeed.

“Instructional practices really do matter,” said DMUSD President Kristin Gibson, noting that the Smarter Balanced tests are just one way that student success is measured. “The instructional practices that we have are research-based and really effective… It isn’t accidental what’s going on.”