California Test Scores Show the Devastating Impact of the Pandemic on Student Learning

Commentary authors

Recent test scores released by the California Department of Education highlight a concerning decline in student learning in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics across multiple grades since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in enrollment and reduced testing numbers in certain grades pose challenges for direct year-over-year comparisons. Notable is a concerning drop in ELA performance for third graders, indicating potential setbacks in early literacy, while eighth graders show a significant decline in math proficiency. These declines were pervasive among various student groups, with economically disadvantaged, Black, and English learner students particularly affected. District-level analyses underscored variations in performance changes, with economically disadvantaged districts experiencing larger declines, though some managed to improve. The impact of COVID-related disruptions on these groups, coupled with pre-existing disparities, intensified learning setbacks. These findings highlight the urgent need for educational transformation, emphasizing equity and addressing persistent disparities in California's education system.

November 2, 2022 | The Harvard EdCast

Harvard Senior Lecturer Jennifer Cheatham and Claremont Graduate University Professor Carl Cohn discuss how extreme politicalization is affecting the role of the superintendent. The upcoming election has the potential to greatly shift the landscape many superintendents are working in around the...