California Students Are Struggling With Math

California students are making significant strides in English but they’re struggling in mathematics, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. 

The Institute based its analysis on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Since 2015, third graders and sixth graders both made 10% gains in English learning. But SBAC scores showed math improvements waning by the sixth grade, especially among low-income students.

“In wealthier districts with less than 20 percent of low-income students, schools reported 70 percent proficiency rates. But in districts with 80 percent of students coming from economically disadvantaged homes, proficiency rates hovered around 40 percent,” the Sacramento Bee reports. “More students in these schools fall ‘below basic in their grade level’ than those that meet grade-level benchmarks.

“The test scores reflect the ‘long, slow process’ that California’s reform efforts can take to enact change, the authors noted. The state in 2013 adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010 and the Local Control Funding Formula, which supports low-performing schools by allocating district revenue for support systems.”

The assessment scores were positive overall and show California’s students moving in the right direction. But the low numbers in math, particularly in disadvantaged communities, speak to the need for greater funding. Right now, there is almost no state funding for math improvement in grades 4 through 8, the researchers said. 


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