Student Assessments Reveal Setbacks in K-12 Academic Performance

Data released Friday by the California Department of Education confirm that K-12 children have suffered enormous setbacks during the pandemic.

The data come from the 2020–21 administration of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), which includes Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts and mathematics; the California Science Test; the California Alternate Assessments for English language arts, mathematics, and science; and the California Spanish Assessment as well as the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).

Just 49% of all students met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts. Only 34% of students met or exceeded expectations in mathematics. While progress continued, it slowed down significantly.

The numbers were worst among younger grades, with 60% of third and fourth-graders not meeting standards in English. Black and Latino students also fared worse than their white peers. Among students of color or those from disadvantaged backgrounds, 60% did not not meet English standards and a stunning 80% did not meet math standards.

Data from CORE Districts — including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Ana and Long Beach Unified — show an increase in D and F grades for high school math.

“Our road ahead is clear—we must continue to focus our energy and resources in supporting our students, families, and educators so they not only recover from the impacts of COVID-19 but thrive in days ahead,” said State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “This must remain our top priority. I am grateful to the Legislature and Governor Newsom for last year’s historic education package (PDF) that provides a record-high level of funding to help transform our system to one dedicated to addressing all the impacts of COVID-19 on our students—academic, behavioral, social-emotional and physical.”

Read more about the assessment results here


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