State Sen. Scott Wilk issues statement regarding state test scores
The long-awaited state test results have been released by officials, according to William S. Hart Union High School District staff.
Though test scores reflect a decline in academic performance — which was anticipated at every level of education due to the coronavirus pandemic — Hart district students continue to outperform others in Los Angeles County and across the state.
“Pandemic disruptions presented countless challenges for students, staff and families of the Hart district,” Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said in a prepared statement. “Despite the dedicated work of our community members, student assessment results have shown some declines as compared with previous ‘normal’ school years.”
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, CAASSP, which includes the California Smarter Balanced Assessment and California Science Test, are annual exams for students across California to evaluate their progress in English, math and science.
According to the overall results for the 2021-22 school year, 45% of the Hart district’s high school students are meeting or exceeding state standards — compared to 27% and 29% of students in L.A. County and in the state.
In English, 73% of Hart’s high school students are meeting or exceeding state standards — compared to 54% and 55% of students in L.A. County and in the state. In math, 37% of Hart’s high school students are meeting or exceeding state standards — compared to 31% and 33% of students in L.A. County and in the state, respectively.
“Although we are disappointed with these results, we believe this is a temporary trend that will be reversed through intervention strategies,” Kuhlman said in the statement. “Regardless, we will use these results, along with other measures to guide our instruction and gauge our progress.”
Hart’s junior high student results show 43%, 67% and 37% of students are meeting or exceeding state standards in science, English and math — and the results are much higher than those for students in L.A. County and in the state.
Although overall assessment results indicate a decline in student performance, there are pockets of growth for some student groups or specific school sites.
According to district officials, in spite of lost learning time in the past two years due to COVID-19, data indicates there was growth for district English learners, science, English and math for different school sites.
Academy of the Canyons, Bowman High School, Golden Valley High School, Saugus High School, West Ranch High School, La Mesa Junior High School and Rancho Pico Junior High School increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in science.
Bowman and Valencia High schools, and all five junior high schools, increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in English. But Bowman High School was the only school site where the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards increased in math.
Students take the CAASSP in the spring, and test results are normally released earlier in the year. However, the Department of Education previously announced data would be released until fall, which caused some frustration for some parties worried about the effects of the pandemic on student learning.
State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, issued a statement criticizing the Department of Education for waiting so long to release test results, and also criticized Democrats’ education policies.
“After shuttering schools for the better part of two years, student failure is on steroids. If we continue doubling down on policies that don’t work, our kids will not be prepared for much of anything,” Wilk said in a prepared statement.
According to Wilk, CAASPP test scores are a key tool for assessing student progress or lack thereof and are critical to assessing the anticipated pandemic-related learning loss for California’s students.
Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services Michael Vierra said the Hart district will be breaking the data further and present the information to the governing board at a future meeting.
“It [the pandemic] happened very quick, but the positive thing that we had going for us is that within our district, and also with our WiSH Foundation, we were able to pretty quickly transition and make sure that our students had technology in their hands and hotspots out.”
“There was definitely some lag time. I think we were actually, when I talked to people, I think we avoided some of the initial problems that other people had because we were fortunate technology-wise, and our staff was well informed with Google Classroom.”
In response to the pandemic and worries about learning loss, the district implemented new and expanded supports for students.
These initiatives, a multi-tiered system of supports, included increased intervention supports, online supplemental academic support programs, extra help during the school day, parallel support classes and a variety of credit recovery programs, according to district officials.
In addition, district staff increased support for the social-emotional learning and well-being of students. They also expanded college and career preparation courses, including career path completion.
“We are proud of the pockets of growth achieved in spite of the many disruptions and lost learning time,” Kuhlman said in the statement. “We will implement elements of our new strategic plan to help accelerate the learning of students in order to ensure that every student graduates opportunity-ready.”