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LAUSD Students Haven't Taken State Tests Since Before The Pandemic. Here Are The New Scores

A pencil lies on a sheet of ruled notebook paper. The paper has math problems on it.
Photo by doviende via Flickr
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The Los Angeles Unified School District released results on Friday from the first round of standardized state tests since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The tests, which are aligned with the state's academic standards, had shown some small progress over the past decade.

Most students haven’t taken these tests since 2019. This year, fewer LAUSD students met or exceeded state standards:

  • 42% in reading, vs. 44% in 2019
  • 28% in math, vs. 33% in 2019

That dip in math scores erases about five years of progress:

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Even as students returned to school in August, district officials had begun warning of a drop in test scores. Leaders said the learning interruptions caused by the pandemic — remote learning, mental health issues, ongoing absences — all but promised a decline.

State test scores are often criticized for more closely tracking students’ household incomes rather than actual learning. Fluctuations in test scores can be used to make any number of political points. But Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the downward trend underscores an important truth.

“The pandemic deeply impacted the performance of our students," Carvalho said. "Particularly, kids who were at risk and in a fragile condition prior to the pandemic — as we expected — were the ones who lost most ground.”

While not exactly a surprise, LAUSD’s numbers are another bad omen for statewide results, which are expected later this fall.

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”).