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State Test Results Indicate Pandemic Exacerbated Existing Inequities

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Last week, the California Department of Education released the results of the 2022-2023 school year California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). These results have been highly anticipated as an indicator of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning.

These results not only prompt questions about the long-term implications of the pandemic on learning loss but also show differences in how certain groups of students were impacted by the pandemic, especially Hispanic and African American students, who were affected much more severely than their white and Asian peers.

In 2023, 67.15% of M-A students met or exceeded state standards in ELA, while 32.85% of students did not. In math, 48.52% of students met or exceeded state standards, while 51.48% of students did not. These results are a continuation of the increasing percentage of students failing to meet state standards over the last three years, with a 6.67% decrease in pass rate since 2019 in ELA, and a 6.8% decrease in pass rate in math since 2019.

When narrowing down the results based on ethnicity, only 37.57% of Hispanic students at M-A met or exceeded state standards in the ELA section. Hispanic students were the lowest performing group at M-A, with 62.43% failing the ELA section. This was a 14.84% decrease in Hispanic student pass rate from the 2018-2019 school year, when 52.41% of Hispanic students met or exceeded state standards.

In the math section, only 14.81% of Hispanic students met or exceeded state standards, a 10.45% decrease in student pass rates from the 2018-2019 school year.

African-American students performed similarly, with 42.85% of students meeting or exceeding state ELA standards, a 1.94% increase from the 2018-2019 school year. In math, however, African-American students had the lowest performance, with only 5.56% of students meeting or exceeding state standards, a 4.44% decrease from the 2018-2019 school year.

Meanwhile, Asian students’ performance improved. In ELA, 100% of Asian students met or exceeded state standards, a 7.7% increase in pass rates from the 2018-2019 school year. In math, 91.3% of Asian students met or exceeded state standards, a 6.68% increase in pass rates from the 2018-2019 school year.

White students’ performance remained relatively stable, with pass rates of 93.78% in ELA (a 2.82% decrease) and 82.25% in math (a 0.44% decrease) since the 2018-2019 school year.

The M-A Chronicle also examined the performances of the three middle schools that send the most students to M-A: Cesar Chavez Middle School in the Ravenswood City School District, Hillview Middle School in the Menlo Park City School District, and La Entrada in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District.

It is important to note that Cesar Chavez Middle School, along with the rest of the Ravenswood City School District, reopened months later than Hillview and La Entrada, forcing students to lose valuable instruction time, severely impacting their success in high school, especially at critical grades such as 5th and 8th.

Cesar Chavez Middle School has a population of students who are mostly from minority groups—78.8% Hispanic, 7% African-American, and 10.7% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. The majority of students at both Hillview and La Entrada are white and Asian.

In the 2022-2023 school year, 10.98% of Cesar Chavez students met state standards in ELA, a 4.71% decrease in pass rates since 2018. In math, 5.08% of students met state standards Math scores showed little change between 2018 and 2023—fluctuating between 7% and 5%.

At Hillview, 77.73% of students met or exceeded state ELA standards, a 7.23% decrease from 2018, while 75.27% of students met or exceeded state math standards, a 6.53% decrease from 2018.

Pass rates at La Entrada were similar; they, decreased, but not as significantly as they did at M-A or at Cesar Chavez. Since 2018, there has been a 1.44% decrease in students meeting or exceeding state ELA standards (84.44% in 2023) and a 1.07% increase in students meeting or exceeding state math standards (82.35% in 2023).

It’s clear that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still evident today, and have only exacerbated existing inequities between ethnicities and feeder schools.

Ameya is a junior in his second year of journalism. He enjoys writing stories about education, sports, and local news and politics. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends and watching movies.

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