Test scores in reading and math showed that educators will be playing ‘catch-up’ in the aftermath of the state’s COVID-19 shutdown.

Thurmond said in a press release that according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “California students lost less ground between 2019 and 2022 than students nationally in math and reading and held steady in eighth grade reading while the nation as a whole declined.”

According to figures released by Sacramento, 47 percent of the state’s students were at or above grade level in Reading while 33 percent were at or above level in Math.

Statewide, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the 2022 Smarter Balanced summative assessments declined by 4 percentage points (from 51 percent to 47 percent) for English language arts and 7 percentage points (from 40 percent to 33 percent) for mathematics when compared to students who took the tests in 2018–19—before the pandemic. The results released today include California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California data.

This means that local educators and parents have a Herculean task ahead of them, as many people feel students have been irreparably harmed by the shutdown and distance learning with little chance of catching up.

The Dos Palos/Oro Loma School District’s scores showed 26 percent of the students at or above level in reading and 14 percent in math.  Dos Palos High’s scores were 44 percent in reading and 11 percent in math.  Bryant Middle School showed 23 percent in reading and 15 percent in math, and Marks Elementary was 24 percent in reading and 14 percent in math.

Dos Palos Schools Superintendent Megan Grijalva pointed out that contrary to these results, Dos Palos, although below the state average did not decline. Compared to 2018 the district’s average stayed stagnant. She added that according to their assessment results students at Marks and 11th graders at the high school were most impacted by the pandemic. However, Bryant Middle School students showed a growth in both ELA and mathematics. 

“Did the pandemic impact our students both academically, socially, and emotionally? Absolutely,” said Grijalva. “However, our students are resilient, and our staff are determined to ensure our students recover. The Board of Trustees, in collaboration with our leadership team, have developed a very specific goal tied to academics that will drive our district’s actions for the next three years. In 3 years the district’s goal is to increase ELA and Math Summative benchmark assessments by 3 percent in year one, 5 percent in year two and 7 percent in year three.”

To achieve the goal, the Dos Palos school district will be implementing the following actions to support students in recovering from the pandemic:

–Districtwide implementation of staff professional development

–Multi-tiered System of Supports implementation, expanded learning opportunities and the implementation of targeted assessments to track student progress.

In addition to these goals, the district has also added additional layers of support such as curriculum specialists, counselors, school psychologists and behavior specialists.

David Borboa