California’s K-12 students experienced significant academic setbacks during the 2020-21 school year of mainly remote learning, showing growing achievement gaps, lagging progress in math and English, increased chronic absenteeism and a slight decline in the statewide graduation rate, according to data released Friday by the California Department of Education.
The data provide the most comprehensive picture yet of how California students have fared during the pandemic. It includes standardized test results for students from third to eighth grade and high school juniors, as well as information on attendance, discipline statistics and graduation rates.
The results show that about half of all California students tested did not meet state standards in English language arts and about two-thirds did not meet standards in math. The scores of Black, Latino and economically disadvantaged students were significantly lower, with more than 60% not meeting English standards and about 80% not meeting math standards.
In English language arts, the rate of students not meeting expectations was significantly higher in earlier grades compared with later grades, indicating that younger students may be uniquely struggling with literacy skills. For example, about 60% of third and fourth graders were not meeting standards in English compared to about 40% of 11th graders.
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