Just over half of public school students who took the state’s standardized English Language Arts test performed at grade level, while only four in 10 are proficient in math, scores that represent a slow upward trend over the past four years, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.
Proficiency rates rose about a 1 percentage point each in both English and math between 2018 and 2019, with 50.9% of students meeting English standards and 39.7% of students meeting math standards on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, designed to test Common Core concepts. However scores among African American students are markedly lower, prompting calls from educators to address the achievement gap.
Although the overall incremental progress is a good sign, education experts said it’s troubling that the majority of public school students test below grade level in math, and barely half in English. Students in grades three through eight and 11th grade high school juniors take the test. The low scores reflect a lack of investment in early childhood education and in the public school system, the experts said.
“We don’t have high quality preschool available, the same supports that you see in the affluent, suburban and private schools, you don’t see in the public schools serving poor kids,” said UCLA education professor Pedro Noguera.
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