As far as the Santa Monica-Malibu school district is concerned, not enough students are being challenged with rigorous coursework or graduating from high school with Advanced Placement credit.

That’s according to data on several metrics the district is using to gauge its performance on preparing students for college and beyond.

The figures, presented to the local Board of Education during its May 19 meeting, show that the district has made strides but still needs improvement, particularly in getting minority and low-income students enrolled and engaged in AP classes.

Benchmarks were set as part of the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, a cornerstone of a recently implemented system that gives the district more responsibility in handling state funds.

The presentation by Terry Deloria, assistant superintendent of educational services, came as the district continues its efforts to develop strategies and programs that are rooted in data.

“This is a report card for us,” board member Craig Foster said. “We have to develop a plan and then put metrics in place to track that. This is the bones of that, the skeleton of that. … For me, this is the beginnings of the kind of metrics we’ve all talked about.”

The district has surpassed its goal of getting at least 70 percent of AP students to score a 3 or higher on the end-of-year exams. However, according to Deloria, it’s likely the goal rate will be raised because it was set before the district had access to data on this metric. She added that demographic breakdowns were not readily available.

The rate of AP students passing their exams has remained relatively stable over the last four years, dipping from 75 percent in 2011-12 to 72 percent a year later but climbing to 73 percent in 2013-14 and 75 percent last year.

“This is a goal that I know our LCAP committee is going to want to take a look at,” Deloria said. “Do we need to get it up?”

Meanwhile, the district wants at least 55 percent of graduating seniors in 2016-17 to have earned a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. The goal was recommended by the Santa Monica College board, according to Deloria.

Forty-four percent of graduating SMMUSD students in 2013 and half of graduates the following year had passed at least one AP test, figures show. There will be a missing data point for 2015 due to a procedural paperwork error at Santa Monica High School, Deloria said.

Ultimately, officials said, the district wants its AP classes to reflect the demographic diversity of its student population. The goal is to reduce the demographic disparities between the general student body and the AP population.

For example, the percentage of Hispanic students in at least one AP class was 21 in 2014-15, when the entire student population was 32 percent Hispanic. That 11-point gap shrank to a 6-point margin this year.

The improvements were due in part to outreach efforts at Samohi. About 190 students who were deemed to have the potential to take an AP class were not enrolled in one this year, a 20-percent decrease from the 239 who fit that description during the 2014-15 school year.

“We’ve had some improvement here,” Deloria said. “There’s been a lot of effort in this area to get students into the classes.”

jeff@www.smdp.com