Latest Test Results Underscore Stark Inequities Impacting California K-12 Students

Reading Proficiency Among California Students Tested in 2021, by Race/Ethnicity

Bar display of reading profiency among students students tested in 2021, by Race/Ethnicity

The annual California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests typically are completed by more than 95% of public-school students statewide in grades 3 through 8 and 11. But testing did not occur in 2020 because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and in 2021 fewer than 25% of students completed the tests.

While the latest data represent only a fraction of students, the results—supported by a California Department of Education analysis of individual students’ scores across time—point to continued struggles with disparities in math and reading proficiency across racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels.

Key 2021 findings:

  • Statewide, only about one-third of students who were tested met or exceeded their grade-level standards in math, and less than half of students met or exceeded standards in reading (English language arts).
  • Among racial/ethnic groups for which data are available, at least 60% of Asian, Filipino, multiracial, and white students scored proficient in reading, compared with fewer than 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students. Math proficiency results show a similar achievement gap between these same groups.
  • Students with limited English language skills (English learners)—who tend to have added academic challenges compared with English-fluent students—were less likely to be proficient in reading and math.
  • Among students who were socioeconomically disadvantaged—those eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or whose parents did not finish high school—only 20% scored proficient in math versus more than 50% of students who were not disadvantaged. Similarly, just over one-third of disadvantaged students were proficient in reading, compared with about two-thirds of their peers without socioeconomic disadvantage.

Substantial academic inequities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status have endured statewide and nationally for decades. While major education policy reforms have taken place in recent years, California leaders face ongoing challenges in serving six million K-12 public school students, more than half of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged and more than one in six are English learners. Continued efforts are needed to ensure that all students—regardless of race, language, social position, or circumstance—have equitable access to high-quality learning environments, instruction, and supports necessary for their success.

KidsData in the News

Mental Health Crisis: Calaveras Students Experience Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, High Rates of Abuse

A Calaveras Enterprise report on youth mental health in Calaveras County includes KidsData figures on depression and child maltreatment.

How the Deadly COVID-19 Pandemic Has Forever Changed the Nation

In a KCBS interview, KidsData Acting Director Beth Jarosz discusses how the pandemic has affected California’s children.

Children’s Health Resources

Data Playbook for Prevention Action Planning

KidsData is featured in this guide developed by Safe and Sound to help counties source, select, gather, analyze, and share data to create effective child maltreatment prevention plans.

Community Strategies to Address California’s Digital Divide and Its Impact on Children and Families (PDF)

This new report by PACEs Connection and the California Essentials for Childhood Initiative focuses on the impact of the digital divide on children’s health and well-being and on the communities in which children live, grow, and play.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about children’s emotional health, foster care, math proficiency, and reading proficiency. See links to the latest here.

Posted by

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 at 9:34 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Post a comment/question: