According to data from California’s Department of Education, California’s K-12 students experienced significant academic setbacks during the 2020-21’s pandemic school year. Nearly half the students who took the standardized test last year failed to meet English proficiency standards set forth by the state. Additionally, students younger than those older performed worse, which indicates the effect of remote learning on students still developing their literacy skills.
Around 60 percent of fourth and third graders failed to meet English standards. 40% of 11th-graders failed to meet English standards. More than 60 percent of Latino and black students failed to meet the requirements.
Data from the California Department of Education shows that students also struggled academically in math classes. California’s math standards were not met by nearly two-thirds (33%) of students. The standards were not met by nearly 70% of the sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders. Nearly 65 percent of fourth, seventh, or 11th graders failed to meet the math standards.
After the U.S. Department of Education canceled a federal testing requirement, the 2020-21 standardized exam was the first to be administered. It was created after schools were closed in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite these setbacks, the data didn’t defeat Linda Darling-Hammond, California State Board of Education President. She stated that although the story is difficult, it is not as difficult as I had hoped based on other projections. “For older children, it’s much more discouraging than we would have feared.”
In addition to disappointing English and maths results, graduation rates have slightly decreased across the state. The four-year graduation rate for 2019-20 was 84.2 percent. It was 84.2 percent in 2019-20. Last year it was 83.6 percent. Black students suffered the most with graduation rates dropping by four points, from 76.8 percent to 72.5 percent.
Heather Hough, Executive Director of Policy Analysis for California Education, stated that “for that 4 percent”, those students are students whose lives have been altered for the better.
Last year’s academic setbacks were compounded by an increase in chronic absenteeism, which is when students are absent for more than ten percent of the school calendar year. The remote learning school year saw a rise in chronic absenteeism rates of around 12 percent to 14%.
Hough stated that students who did not participate in the online learning program were most likely to be disconnected, absent from school for a long time, or lack of support at home. The results are alarming. They are alarming.