Student test score data newly released today by the California Department of Education illuminates the impact of the pandemic on student academic performance. The test scores show last spring’s results in math and English Language Arts on the 2021-22 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).
This is the first year of CAASPP testing results since 2019, as the State Board of Education suspended mandatory testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the exceptional circumstances of the past three years, comparisons between 2019 and 2022 results are challenging, and highlight the need to consider this year’s data as a new baseline.
Santa Barbara County school districts have had access to individual students’ results since earlier this school year and have been using the data to provide extra support to students and to modify systems of intervention provided at each school. Student scores in grades 3-8 and 11 are categorized into four achievement levels, indicating whether that performance has exceeded, met, nearly met, or did not meet the standard.
The test results serve as a compass, a general idea of how students performed on a summative assessment on mathematics and English Language Arts, explained Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Salcido. “As educators, we look at this annual assessment in combination with more frequent, local, in-class assessments to provide personalized instruction that helps each student advance in their learning.”
As anticipated, the results both at the state and county levels show that the pandemic thwarted some of the progress schools had made prior to the pandemic. For Santa Barbara County as a whole, the number of students meeting or exceeding standard declined by about the same percentage as the state:
- The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standard in English Language Arts (ELA) dropped about 6 percentage points (from 47% in 2018/19 to 41% in 2021/2022)
- The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standard in math declined by about 8 percentage points (from 36% in 2018/19 to 28% in 2021/2022)
Statewide, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standard in ELA declined by 4 percentage points and declined in math by 7 percentage points when compared to pre-pandemic results. The CDE Press Release is linked here.
“The data underscores the extraordinary disruption the pandemic caused on student learning and growth, and the critical importance of face-to-face, in-person instruction,” Superintendent Salcido said. “Now is the time to accelerate our efforts on every front; we are focused on targeted interventions, adapting, expanding, and accelerating services to meet and exceed the supports that are essential to our students’ long-term success.”
The Santa Barbara County Education Office is working closely with local school districts in various areas to enhance learning and academic performance. This includes: expanding preschool enrollment; supporting the rollout of transitional kindergarten (TK); providing professional learning and planning support for childcare staff, teacher teams, and administrators; and increasing access to mental health and wellness resources for students, families and school staff across the county.
The CAASPP test scores alone display only a portion of student performance and school accountability. For example, with the first grading period of this school year coming to a close, teachers will be communicating through parent conferences and report cards the progress and growth students have made in the months since students took these tests. Later this year, the 2022 California School Dashboard will provide additional data with the release of state and local measures of absenteeism, graduation rates, suspension rates, and English learner progress. The new Dashboard data is expected to be public by the end of December.
Assessment results for the CAASPP and ELPAC are available to the public on the Test Results for California’s Assessments website.
To provide essential background and factors to consider when interpreting California’s 2021–22 statewide assessment results, the CDE created the Interpretation Guide to the 2021–22 Statewide Assessment Results, which can be found on the CDE California Assessment Results News Release web page.
NAEP results, including those for California and all other states, are available on The Nation’s Report Card website.