"I think that will be a discussion for (the accountability system) as that's looked at and modified," he said.
Under the accountability system, Nibley Elementary School in Cache Valley scored the highest in the state with 587 points.
"We’re very grateful to see that the efforts and hard work of our staff and students have shown in the UCAS test results," said Cache County School District spokesman Kirk McRae.
Nibley Elementary Principal Jeanette Christensen said she is pleased with her school's score but acknowledges that because the scores are partly based on student improvement, holding the top spot in the state will be difficult.
"How much further can we go?" she said. "Whether we can be the very top year after year, probably not because of the way it’s done."
But she said the school faces a similar situation with school grading, and while she prefers the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System, her staff will continue to focus on the needs of children independent of what the scores reflect.
"Whether the points go up or not, we’re just trying to do the best job we can at helping students learn," she said.
Of the remaining schools in the top 10, four spots were claimed by Salt Lake City School District's Beacon Heights, Wasatch, Dilworth and Ensign elementaries.
At the high school level, the Northern Utah Academy of Math Engineering and Science in Layton claimed the top spot with 541 points, followed by another early-college charter school, the Utah County Academy of Science, with 529 points.
Rounding out the top five high schools, Davis High School and Juab High School earned 524 points and 504 points respectively and the Academy for Math Engineering and Science in Murray earned 502 points.
Jesse said the increase in median scores shows upward movement among Utah schools, but he added that it is not yet clear whether the change is statistically significant.
He also said that next year, proficiency scores are expected to drop as the bulk of the new Common Core standards are implemented in Utah schools. The Common Core is designed to increase college- and career-readiness by raising the bar in each grade and has resulted in sharp declines in proficiency in Kentucky and New York, the first two states to begin testing the new standards.
Core proponents point to the drop in test scores as evidence of the new standards' rigor rather than a decline in teacher quality. Jesse said it's too early to know how severely Utah's scores will be affected, but he suggested that people will likely be "shocked" at the sudden decline.
"The expectations are significantly higher," he said of the Common Core. "Initially you’re not going to have as many students that are declared proficient because becoming proficient is a lot harder, which is what we want."
Nibley Elementary School (Cache): 587 points
Beacon Heights Elementary (Salt Lake): 577 points
Wasatch Elementary School (Salt Lake): 571 points
Oak Hills Elementary School (Davis): 568 points
George Washington Academy (Charter): 567 points
Windridge Elementary School (Davis): 556 points
Tonaquint Intermediate School (Washington): 556 points
Dilworth Elementary School (Salt Lake): 553 points
Desert Hills Middle School (Washington): 553 points
Ensign School (Salt Lake): 552 points
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