Press Release


October 24, 2022 

Contact: Mariel Matze, [email protected], 650-380-1973 

The Education Trust–West Responds to Release of 2022 CAASPP Results 

OAKLAND, Calif. — Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, issued the following statement in response to the release of 2022 results of the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP). 

This year’s CAASPP scores represent the first robust picture of how California students fared during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, performance dipped for students across the board, confirming the impacts of disrupted learning. We know from our work with educators and districts that students are resilient when offered quality learning opportunities to recover the learning they missed. But we also know all too well that before the pandemic, students of color were least likely to have their educational needs met; during the pandemic, they were most likely to face some of its worst consequences. Recovery is within reach––but only if we power it with significant investments that target resources where they are needed most. If we do so, not only will we recover from the devastation of the pandemic, but we will also accelerate our progress toward racial equity in California education.  

CAASPP scores showed declines in both math and reading, though more severe in the former than the latter. Decreases in each remained in the single digits, indicating that recovering interrupted learning is achievable. Yet when broken down by race, unacceptable equity gaps that long pre-dated the pandemic persist. We cannot be reassured when only 16% of Black students are on grade level in math. We cannot be relieved when the same is true for barely one in five Latinx students. Pandemic or not, these scores are unacceptable. 

These data are vital to understanding how well we’re serving our students. Scores by student groups can help keep us accountable to the students who have never gotten all they deserve from our education systems and further the hard work of ensuring they finally do. Scores over time help us gauge how severely students’ learning was interrupted—and how well we’re assisting them in recuperating it. Scores by region, district, and school can help us identify bright spots to replicate and target support where most needed. Clearly, we have a long way to go, but these early signs indicate we’re heading in the right direction.  

But data insights are only valuable if they guide our actions.  

Since long before the pandemic, we neglected to adequately fund and support schools—especially in communities of color. As we well know, the COVID-19 pandemic only deepened those disparities. Fortunately, as a result of recent bold budget investments and legislation, millions of students will benefit from better STEM instruction, access to financial aid, and early exposure to college. Adopting more solutions like these doesn’t mean “going back to normal”; it means looking forward to a more equitable future.  

Our state’s students of color will rise from the aftermath of the pandemic if we continue to fuel California schools with resources tailored to their needs and targeted toward the communities furthest from opportunity. They are destined for greatness—if we continue to invest in their futures. 

Among the key results of the CAASPP assessment in California:  

The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends using caution when comparing 2020-21 school year results with those of 2021-22, as far fewer students completed the assessments in 2020-21 than in an average year due to the COVID pandemic. Further, those who did may not reflect the state’s demographics.  

  • Fewer than half (47%) of all CA students are on grade level in English Language Arts (ELA), and roughly a third (33%) are on grade level in math. These percentages represent a 4 percentage point drop in ELA and a nearly 7 percentage point drop in math from 2018-19, the last year of comparable available testing data.   
  • ELA and math scores dropped across all student groups from 2018-19 to 2020-21.
      • In ELA, the percentage of Black students that met or exceeded CA grade level standards decreased from 33% in 2018-19 to 30% in 2021-22. The percentage of Latinx students that met or exceeded standards decreased by nearly 5 percentage points from 41% to 36%, and the percentage of white students that met or exceeded standards also decreased by nearly 5 percentage points from 66% in 2018-19 to 61% in 2021-22. Asian students saw the smallest decrease, with 75% of Asian students meeting or exceeding standards in 2021-22 compared to 77% in 2018-19.
      • In math, only 16% of Black students met or exceeded grade level standards in 2021-22, a 5 percentage point decrease from 21% in 2018-19. Latinx students saw a larger decline, of 7 percentage points, with 21% meeting or exceeding standards in 2021-22 compared to 28% in 2018-19. Fewer than half of white students met or exceeded standards, representing a 6 percentage point decrease from 54% proficient in 2018-19 to 48% proficient in 2021-22. Asian students also saw a 5 percentage point decline, from 74% meeting or exceeding standards in 2018-19 to 69% in 2021-22. 
  • Both students from economically disadvantaged households and their wealthier peers saw decreased proficiency levels. However, a wide gap between the two groups remains, with 35% of students from low-income households meeting or exceeding standards in ELA compared to 65% of students not in low-income households. In math, 21% of students from low-income households met or exceeded standards compared to 51% of students not from low-income households.
  • Only 10% of English Language Learners (ELs) are at grade level for math, representing a 3 percentage point drop from 2018-19 levels. Roughly 12% of English Learners met or exceeded standards for ELA, a slight decrease from 2018-19 levels.    


About the Education Trust–West 

The Education Trust–West works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-K through college, in the state of California. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.