The San Diego Unified School District's Academic Performance Index score -- summarizing students' performance on a series of tests -- rose by 10 points in 2011-12, surpassing the state target, according to figures released Thursday by the California Department of Education.
The district's score went from 798 last year to 808. Possible scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a performance target of 800.
"San Diego Unified has passed the 800 target set by the state for the first time, following six years of continuous growth," said Deputy Superintendent of Academics Nellie Meyer. "This improvement is a testament to the focused, dedicated work of our teachers, principals, and support staff. We are also seeing the benefits of our analysis of student data and community involvement."
The performance is the second best in the state among large districts, trailing only the 815 of Garden Grove, in Orange County.
The statewide API score increased by 10 points, from 778 last year to 788, the CDE reported.
In the SDUSD, 113 schools met or exceeded the 800-point score.
The highest score at the elementary school level was 991 by Torrey Pines Elementary School. For middle schools, the best was 934 at Marshall Middle School in San Carlos. Scripps Ranch was the top high school with a mark of 900.
According to the state, 53 percent of California schools met or exceeded the 800-point bar in 2011-12, up four percentage points from the previous year.
API reflects growth in student achievement from one year to the next. It is determined by results on the California Standards Tests in English, math, history/social science and science, and the California High School Exit Exam.
"We've set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. "The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there's still more work to do, California's schools have earned a vote of confidence."
Statewide, 59 percent of elementary schools, 49 percent of middle schools and 30 percent of high schools met the state API benchmark.
Elementary school scores statewide increased by 7 points to 815, while middle schools jumped 14 points to 792 and high schools increased 11 points to 752.
The large school districts in San Diego County that did not post API scores of 800 or above were:
Escondido Union, 759, up eight points from last year
Grossmont Union High, 734, up 10 points
Oceanside Unified, 788, up nine points
South Bay Union Elementary, 788, up 12 points
Sweetwater Union High, 794, up 10 points
Vista Unified, 798, up seven points
At Sweetwater, district officials said some schools posted large gains, including Hilltop High School's score climbing 25 points to top 800 for the first time at 824.
"We continue to move this district in a positive direction academically," said Superintendent Ed Brand. "Our students are focused thanks to the efforts of staff. We look forward to continuing these efforts and know that there is no limit to what students in the Sweetwater District can achieve."
Bonita Vista Middle School improved its score by 46 points to 869, and Castle Park Middle School climbed 44 points to 794, according to state figures.