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California’s Standardized Test Results Will Come Out In October, After Concerns About Delayed Release In Scores

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The California Department of Education will release the results of last spring’s statewide math, reading and science tests in October, an official in the department told our newsroom Tuesday.

Deputy Schools Superintendent Malia Vella's pledge that the department will release the scores next month comes in the wake of a report last week from the news site EdSource that raised the possibility state officials might not release the data until after the November election. Vella’s boss — State Superintendent Tony Thurmond — is running for re-election.

“Our goal remains to release the statewide data when it’s finalized, which is expected to occur sometime in October,” Vella said on KPCC’s AirTalk.

Last spring was the first time since the pandemic hit that students in some districts — including Los Angeles Unified, the state’s largest system — participated in the statewide Smarter Balanced tests. The scores are one of the first opportunities to get a clearer picture of the effect of two years of pandemic disruptions on students’ academic progress.

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An October release of the results wouldn’t be a huge departure from before the pandemic. (Here’s a 2017 story noting that scores from the previous spring were released in late September.)

However, on Sept. 22, EdSource reported that Department of Education officials denied a request from the education news outlet to release the scores. At the time of the report, the state did not commit to a timeline for publishing the results, raising prospects of a “months-long delay” before a public unveiling of the data.

During her radio appearance, Vella characterized the process as “on-track.” She said school districts still have until the end of September to verify that correct results have been uploaded for every student. The state then needs time to conduct “quality control checks” and compile results.

Off the air, Vella also said her comments on AirTalk were “not a change of position and not the first time we put this out. We sent out two letters last week” to schools clarifying the timeline.

At least one district felt its results were ready to share: LAUSD released its district-wide topline results on Sept. 9, reporting that more students fared worse on math and reading exams.

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).