In another measure of the pandemic’s corrosive impact on learning, California students performed significantly worse in 2022 on Smarter Balanced, the state’s standardized test.

Fewer than half of students met the state standard in English language arts, with a drop of 4 percentage points to 47.1% from pre-pandemic 2018-19, when the state last required the test statewide. Exactly one-third of students performed at standard in math, a decline of 6.5 percentage points. For Black students, it is now 16% and 9.7% for English learners.

The pandemic’s effects were widespread; the scores fell roughly the same – 5  to 7 percentage points among most racial and ethnic groups. But disparities in scores among those groups were already chasmic, and the declines in 2022 wiped out six years of slow, steady progress since Smarter Balanced was introduced in 2014-15. The 69.4% of Asian students who scored at or above standard in 2022 is more than triple the rate for Latino and Black students.

Moving up its original release date, initially set to be released with other state data in December or January, the California Department of Education instead announced the results on the same day as the release of scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. The results of the different tests cannot be compared, but point to the same conclusion: Covid severely set back progress nationally and in California, indicating it will take extra resources and attention, and probably several years, to recover from the impact. (See story on NAEP scores)

“Now is not the time to take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to doing everything we can to help all our students progress toward mastery of our learning standards and thrive in every way in school,” said California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond.

Read the full article about the decline of standardized test scores by John Fensterwald and Daniel J. Willis at EdSource.