WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2023) — New K-12 assessment data shows that America’s students are steadily making gains in English language arts and math, but they are still far from pre-pandemic levels. The comprehensive results were unveiled on the Collaborative for Student Success’ Assessment HQ platform — the go-to source for understanding annual K-12 academic assessments.
The update, which was based on statewide assessment data from nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the 2021-22 school year, provides the most comprehensive and complete snapshot of statewide student testing results from students in grades 3-8 since the start of the pandemic — as well as historical data as far back as the 2015-16 school year.
The results show that a majority of states with comparable data* have seen improvement in all grades when compared to the 2020-21 school year — a trend that is mirrored across most student groups: Black, Hispanic, white and Asian American students.
Despite these bright spots in student growth, states are still seeing significant lags in student performance and there’s an urgent need to get students back on track. Notable trends among the results include:
- An alarming number of students are still well below proficiency.
- More than one-third of third grade students are not reading and/or on track to read at grade level — a shortcoming that long predates the pandemic.
- Students in fifth and eighth grades are recovering at a slower rate in math than English language arts, while students in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 are recovering at a slower rate in English language arts than math.
- Bucking the positive trends, Black, Hispanic and white students have seen 1% declines in eighth grade English language arts since the 2020-21 school year.
- Most states are in compliance with federal law and are reporting data to parents and the general public, but there are notable exceptions:
- Nine states have yet to provide disaggregated data by student groups.
- One-third of states are not yet reporting comprehensive student participation rates.
- 48 states and the District of Columbia have released at least some of their 2021-22 assessment results. Maine and Vermont have not released any results.
“State assessment results provide an important piece of the puzzle when looking individually and systemically at how well students are recovering from the pandemic,” said Jim Cowen, Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success. “State assessment results should be presented to policymakers, educators, and parents in understandable ways to help support recovery and strategically allocate resources to the students most in need, and we are pleased to be able to offer the results in one, easy-to-use place on the Assessment HQ platform.”
“While we were encouraged to see bright spots in test scores where students in some states are returning to pre-pandemic levels in reading and math, a return to this ‘normal’ can’t be the ultimate goal,” Cowen added. “Even before the pandemic far too many students were not proficient in reading and math, and we must ensure every student leaves high school prepared for college or career.”
The update to Assessment HQ also includes information on whether a state has reported student proficiency and participation information in compliance with the federal law, which is an essential metric for transparency.
Annual state assessments are one of the best tools available to measure students’ academic progress and ensure that state and district decisions and policies impacting young people are grounded in evidence and real results.
*Comparable states include those that did not seek a waiver in the 2020-21 school year, have maintained the same assessment type across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school year and have adequate participation rates (>90%). States that were comparable across 2021 and 2022 include the following: AL, AR, CA, DE, FL, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NC, ND, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI and WY.
About the Collaborative for Student Success
At our core, we believe leaders at all levels have a role to play in supporting success for K-12 students. From ensuring schools and teachers are equipped with the best materials to spotlighting the innovative and bold ways federal recovery dollars are being used to drive needed changes, the Collaborative for Student Success aims to inform and amplify policies making a difference for students and families. The Collaborative for Student Success shines a light on the ways states and districts are leveraging unprecedented resources to make sure classrooms are safe for learning, providing students and teachers with the high-quality instructional materials they deserve, and are rethinking how best to measure learning so supports are targeted where they’re needed most.
About Assessment HQ
Assessment HQ is an online platform by the Collaborative for Student Success. Assessment HQ provides an accessible, one-stop-shop for understanding statewide annual academic assessments for grades three through eight and commentary on how to put the data to use — as well as what these assessments tell us about students’ mastery of skills and knowledge needed at that level to be successful in the next grade and beyond. To learn more, visit www.assessmenthq.org.
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