From S.F. Examiner by Andrea Koskey:
The number of San Francisco public schools meeting state proficiency standards increased slightly this year, in contrast to the majority of California schools, according to data released Thursday.

But as the San Francisco Unified School District and other California school districts prepare to adopt new measurement standards in the coming years, this year's improvement is a minor development in the grand scheme of student assessment.

About 54 percent of San Francisco's schools were deemed "proficient" in English and math on the Academic Performance Index this year, up from 52 percent a year ago. Only 50 percent of California schools were judged proficient, a 2-point decline from the previous school year, according to test scores released by the state Thursday.

The state currently uses the Academic Performance Index to measure student and school performance. The scores count toward the national accountability assessment known as the Adequate Yearly Progress benchmark under the No Child Left Behind law. Based on results from numerous tests, schools in California are given a rating between 200 and 1,000 points, with a target of 800 points considered proficient.

Districts have made significant gains since the tests were first administered in 2003, moving toward the goal of ensuring that all students are proficient by the 2013-14 school year. However, dozens of school districts are not set to attain that goal. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education has been approving waivers to states and school districts allowing them to stray from the standards while shifting to the new Common Core Standards initiative.

San Francisco is one of eight California school districts to be approved for the waiver. Over the next year, districts will work to create a model that is not based solely on test scores. California as a whole is also attempting to devise such a solution

"We are shifting from old standards to new ones," State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said.

This year, though, schools still need to administer the existing tests and work to make students proficient. In San Francisco, test scores overall dipped slightly, going from 807 in 2012 to 805 in 2013. But though the average score dipped slightly, performance leveled out a bit among the district's schools.

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