Preliminary testing data indicates Saugus Union School District students achieved academic success amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to district officials.
The 2022 spring data indicated Saugus district students lost some ground in language arts with overall test scores for students in grades 3-6 at 64.69%, which dropped approximately 2.09%. Mathematics test scores rose to 57.28% for students in grades 3-6, a 1.22% gain from test scores three years ago.
“We are so proud of our teachers and staff for the amazing work they did during the pandemic,” Chris Trunkey, governing board president, said in a prepared statement.
Earlier in September, the Saugus district’s board of trustees participated in a study session at Bridgeport Elementary School to share its most current school data, which included preliminary test score data from California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, also known as CAASPP.
The CAASPP is an annual exam used to measure students’ progress in English and mathematics, and it’s usually administered in the spring. However, school districts across California didn’t administer the CAASPP in the spring of 2020 because of the pandemic.
In 2021 the state Department of Education gave the option for districts to administer the CAASPP or other district-wide assessment to measure students’ progress.
According to Saugus district officials, school districts have struggled during the pandemic to ensure quality, grade-appropriate learning experiences were provided to all students, and to ensure that all students benefited from those experiences.
The nation has been preparing for the data that would quantify learning loss experienced by students during the pandemic, district staff said in the statement.
“With a prediction of losses in CAASPP test scores of 5-15% across the state, [SUSD] is seeing that its efforts with short-term independent study, intervention teachers, and strong curriculum alignment have helped its students to have a different experience,” Superintendent Colleen Hawkins wrote in an email.
CAASPP test scores in 2019 show students in grades 3-6 scored collectively at 66.78% in English language arts, and 56.05% in math. The 2022 test scores, at 64.69% in English and 57.28%, indicate students overall were able to retain their English learning and grew in math.
In addition, the district saw 26% of students able to reclassify their “English learner” status. According to district staff, the increase in reclassification rate was 16% over the 2021 school year.
“We put several systems in place during the 2021-22 school year to help English learner students make these gains,” Hawkins wrote in an email. “We knew our teachers could ensure that students thrived if they had the tools and support.”
According to district staff, the preliminary data is something to celebrate given the challenges the pandemic posed for education, but there is much work to be done to ensure higher growth in English and math.