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Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) students have continued to perform above state and county averages since the inception of the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 2015, reflecting growth in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science this year.

The California Department of Education recently released 2022-23 standardized test data. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 were tested in English and mathematics, and students in grades 5, 8, 11, and some in 12 were tested in science. The 8,700 NMUSD students tested in these grade levels reflect a sample of 50 percent of our total student population. Parents of students tested received their individual student test results this past summer. Individual student test scores are also available in the Aeries Parent Portal.

graph showing districtwide growth in score in English math and science

Districtwide students show growth when compared to 2021-22:

  • English: 0.2 percent growth

  • Math: 0.53 percent growth

  • Science: 0.13 percent growth

"While these results show improvement, we're not yet reaching the heights we aspire to and that we know our students are capable of," said Assistant Superintendent of Achievement, Innovation, and Continuous Improvement Socorro Shiels. “Our district has made it clear that we expect no less than being a top district in the state. We have room to grow,” she said.


graph showing growth in English and math for elementary students

District interventions in early literacy are showing results with an overall elementary English level growth of 2.5 percent and a nearly 6 percent growth in third-grade English. There was a 0.91 percent growth in elementary math compared to 2021-22. 

“We have placed a strong focus on early literacy skills, providing additional staffing and resources specifically focused on enhancing literacy in our elementary grades,” said Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Dr. Kurt Suhr. “This data is encouraging as it shows our efforts reflecting improved student achievement,” he said.  

As we delve into the data, we pay close attention to fifth-grade scores, particularly math and science. This year, we are in an adoption process for math and science. In the area of science, this will strengthen the connection between the work in our hands-on science labs, our science specialists, and classroom science instruction. For math, we are confident that standards-based math benchmark assessments will help inform individualized learning opportunities based on this current year's data.

graph showing 12% growth in English and 10% growth in Math at Rea Elementary

It is vital to highlight powerful growth spots. Rea Elementary School has shown the most growth since the inception of the tests, with a nearly 27 percent growth in English and nearly 19 percent growth in math. Compared to 2021-22, Rea grew more than 12 percent in English and nearly 10 percent in math.

Since the inception of the English and math Smarter Balanced Assessments, Andersen Elementary School has maintained 80 percent or higher each year in English and math; College Park Elementary School has increased scores in English, math, and science every year; and since the inception of the science test, College Park, Kaiser, Lincoln, and Victoria elementary schools have shown growth each year. 

graphs showing increased score at Andersen, College Park, Kaiser, Lincoln and Victoria


At the secondary level, math showed a 0.23 percent growth, with middle school math improving by more than 1.4 percent. English showed a 2.5 percent decline, and scores for science reflect more than a half percent growth. 

graphs showing growth in middle school math and secondary science

The district has many high school student success markers, such as a 97 percent graduation rate, high Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate participation and scores, and a high college-going rate (some schools with nearly 90 percent of students entering college); however, there are still areas for improvement. 

“Our approach to improving scores in English requires a multifaceted approach focused on comprehension, critical thinking, and effective communication,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Kerrie Torres. We adopted a new English language arts curriculum at the middle school level, support English learners with aligned English language development instruction, and have increased professional development and coaching for our reading programs.

graphs showing increased test scores at Estancia and Enisgn and Early College

There are bright spots in the secondary SBAC data. Early College High School has maintained a 90 percent or higher in three of the past four years in English. Estancia High School shows a 6 percent growth in English compared to last year, and Ensign Intermediate School shows a growth of nearly 2 percent in English compared to last year. 

graphs showing increased math scores at CdM and Estancia as well as with English learners

In 11th grade math, Corona del Mar High School increased by 4.87 percent. In middle school math, Corona del Mar also increased by more than 4 percent. Estancia High School increased 6.77 percent in math, and English learners are also improving with a 0.78 percent growth compared to 2021-22.

graphs showing growth in science for middle and high schools, including Costa Mesa, Early College and Estancia

In science, secondary students are improving. In NMUSD, middle school showed a 0.79 percent growth, and high school reflected a 0.43 percent growth compared to last year. Since the inception of the science test, Early College and Estancia High Schools have shown growth each year, with Early College High School reflecting an 11.49 percent growth and Estancia High School a 6.56 percent growth. 


Student success is measured by more than a single test score

Student success is measured by more than a single test score, and we are a fortunate school district to be able to provide the necessary support and resources to our staff and students to continue progress. The district will continue to support students, families, and staff so that all markers of student academic success reflect the caliber of our community.