Poor math scores for eighth graders are setting off alarms in California.
The findings published by EdSource show what researchers call an alarming trend. Math scores of California’s average eighth graders on standardized tests last year were in line with the knowledge and skills of fifth graders. It is being reported that the average scores of all groups in eighth grade were below standard except for Asian students, their average score was in the upper range of exceeding standards and pointing out Black and Latino eighth grade and low-income students averaged far below standard, with a score approximating what fourth graders need to meet. The report listed remedies including money from the state to bolster math and science education. “The results highlight massive gaps in math learning that existed long before pandemic,” said Rick Miller, CEO of the CORE Districts, a multi-district data and improvement collaborative. “Responding with a one-time fix misunderstands what is happening.”
Adverse conditions for students seem to already be continuing this year, with widespread staff shortages resulting in teacher strikes prolonging in-class learning, crippling rates of student absences and worrisome data on students’ declining mental health. When most students return from spring break this year, they will take this year’s Smarter Balanced tests.