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Local school districts following trend of low test scores seen across the nation

Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 25, 2022

New national data available for the first time since 2019 shows that US reading and math scores in students are heading in the wrong direction.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the "Nation's Report Card," most states saw scores decline for 4th and 8th graders in reading and math.

“It was a tough time. It was really a tough time. I want to start off by saying our students, our families, and our students did their absolute best in a very difficult situation," said Hillery Dixon, LMUSD curriculum and instruction assistant superintendent.

The State of California uses the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, given to every student in 3rd through 8th-grade and also 11th graders. They are tested for English language arts and math.

Local districts use the data to view and understand learning trends.

“Along with the rest of the nation and state, we, too, saw a decline in both language arts and mathematic across all grade levels," said Dixon.

“Our trend and data analysis is mirroring the national trends we have heard reported. We are seeing dips in the percentage of students that are proficient or advanced in both language arts and math," said SMBSD teaching and learning supplemental director Laurie Graack.

District officials say they attribute some of the data to the pandemic as students faced new learning obstacles.

“Looking at the impact of this year’s scores, we have to consider COVID closures, at-home learning, distance learning, as well as issues like chronic absentees during COVID closures, trauma, and declining enrollment in our district," said Graack.

Santa Maria Bonita and Lucia Mar Unified school districts say the expansion of support programs for students began as soon as they returned to the classroom.

“We’ve expanded and enhanced our summer school program. We continue to expand our before and after school offerings so there’s high-quality childcare and academic enrichment and tutoring opportunities, especially at our elementary level," said Dixon.

Santa Maria Bonita says they are focusing on high-quality instruction throughout the day and nine hours of programming during summer school. That's up from just four hours before the pandemic.

 The California standardized testing is an annual test and will be done again next year between March and May.