CA shows some progress on student test scores
Chronic absenteeism also decreases 5 percent
October 30, 2023
On Oct. 18, the California Department of Education released data for student assessments, which include data for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress; the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California; and chronic absenteeism for the 2022-23 school year. The data show positive progress in academic performance among California public school students since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The newly released assessment and chronic absenteeism rates are but one example of overall progress for California students,” said ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta. “Statewide progress and district bright spots highlight the efficacy of strategic and intentional efforts. While it’s clear there’s more work to do to ensure sustained progress and continued closure of opportunity gaps, we are confident that school communities (staff, administrators, families and students) are collaborating toward significant student outcomes.”
According to CDE, California’s assessment and absenteeism rates are in line with the rest of the nation or better; for example, the chronic absenteeism rate decreased 5.1 percent overall from the 2021-22 school year to the 2022-23 school year. Migrant students saw the biggest improvement; their chronic absenteeism rate decreased about 10 percent from 2021-22.
The percentage of students who met or exceeded the standard on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for math saw a small increase from 33.4 percent in the 2021-22 school year to 34.6 percent for 2022-23.
The CDE reports that California’s statewide scores are particularly promising given the proportion of high-need students has also increased. Specifically, the proportion of students tested who are socioeconomically disadvantaged increased from 60 percent in 2022 to 63 percent in 2023, and the number and share of students who are experiencing homelessness or who are part of the foster care system has also increased.
Overall, against this backdrop, the percentages of California students meeting or exceeding the standards for mathematics, science and the ELPAC increased, while the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard for English Language Arts did not change significantly. Results also improved in the California Alternate Assessments, which are given to students with the greatest special education needs, in both ELA and mathematics.
“These results suggest that California’s public schools are beginning to turn the corner on pandemic recovery, with gains on most assessments and a substantial reduction in chronic absenteeism, especially for our most vulnerable groups of students,” said California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, in a news release. “Our governor and Legislature have substantially increased funding for schools to enable educators to invest in effective strategies like high-dose tutoring, after school and summer learning, mental health supports, and universal preschool to accelerate learning and engage students. Our work is far from done, and we will build on recent investments made in a new Equity Multiplier, reading coaches and literacy specialists, and a state Literacy Roadmap to further empower our educators and our students to continue making equitable gains.”
Online Resources
Read about strategies for improving attendance in the Nov./Dec. issue of Leadership magazine at leadership.acsa.org