You have to take those "report cards" with a grain of salt. There are a lot of factors to consider. For starters, how high are your state standards? It's not universal. Some states softened their tests to allow their students to score higher. This makes comparing schools programs from state to state difficult.
You really need to look at your school scores by demographic. My kids schools totals tend to hover around 60 percent meeting state standards overall (which is "proficient" or "advanced and in a high standards state.) The majority remaining are at the "basic" level with 1 or 2 percent scoring "below or very below basic." However, in my own kids economic demographic, it's more like 85 percent passing. In the gifted demographic, you're looking at 98 percent passing (and I wonder if those 2 percent not passing just blew it off.)
My kids elementary and middle schools housed very large "English as a Second Language" population. These kids are bright and capable but it can take them years to score well on those state tests. Another demographic, quantity of learning disabled kids and the services they are getting. Our local schools ended up soaking up large quantities of LD kids who were just not getting services in their own districts. Again, great kids getting the help they need but lower test scores.
How important a school sees those test scores is a factor to consider too. There are schools that have sky-rocketing scores but teach strictly to the test. Personally, I'd rather a school care less and teach what they feel a child really needs to know. We have a district in our county that made a second year of kindergarten the standard for any child who wasn't 6 when they started K. Yes, their test scores are higher because they testing older children on lower grade material! Doubt your want your own child at 6 plugging through the kindergarten curriculum.
So, to answer your question, both my middle and high schooler are in schools were the total population rates about 60-ish percent of kids making proficient/advanced but they've done well working with my gifted children. Elementary and middle school in particular have been highly flexible and open to forms of accomodation that other higher ranking districts scoffed at.
Edited by whatsnextmom - 9/15/11 at 12:59pm