First-time California science test results reveal wide achievement gaps for black and Latino students, dismal scores for the state’s English learners


Source: LA School Report

A state task force newly assigned to narrowing California’s achievement gap got further proof of the challenges ahead with this month’s first-ever release of the California Science Test scores, showing that less than 1 in 5 low-income black and Latino students met or exceeded the standards.

The results released by the California Department of Education show that, across all grades statewide, 9.94 percent of disadvantaged black students and 15.64 percent of disadvantaged Latino students met or exceeded the science standards on the inaugural test known as CAST, compared to 44 percent of non-disadvantaged white students and nearly 60 percent of Asian students.

“The results confirm the trends we continue to see in other assessment data — that our education systems are failing to support African American, Latinx, English learners, and low-income students to meet California’s Science standards,” Christopher J. Nellum, deputy director of Education Trust–West, said in an email statement Feb. 6, the day the scores were released. “These CAST results do not reflect the promise we must uphold to accelerate academic progress for all students, especially students of color and low-income students.”

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.