Student Data Show Kern County Students Making Gains

Friday October 20, 2023

On October 18, The California Department of Education (CDE) released student performance data results from the 2022–23 administration of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), which includes assessments for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. The assessments are given annually to students in grades three through eight and 11.

Prior to the pandemic, Kern County CAASPP results in ELA and math showed significant growth from the initiation of the assessments in the 2014-15 school year through 2018-19. The assessments were put on hiatus for two years during the height of the pandemic (2019-20 and 2020-21 school years). Assessments resumed during the 2021-22 school year with data that affirmed the many challenges created by the pandemic and the impact distance learning, chronic absences, social-emotional wellness, and other disruptions like staffing shortages had on student progress.

While achievement continue to lag pre-pandemic levels, the most recent data show Kern County students made modest growth during last school year compared to the school year prior. Moreover, achievement growth for Kern County students outpaced that of all California students collectively.

“It’s evident that significant work remains as our education systems continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. But we are moving in the right direction once again and it is great to see progress being made.”

— Dr. John Mendiburu, Kern County Superintendent of Schools

In Kern County, 38.23 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts/Literacy last school year (compared to 37.88 percent the previous year) and 22.74 percent met or exceeded standards in mathematics (compared to 21.26 percent the previous year).

The CDE also released chronic absenteeism rates, which reflect a promising trend. In Kern County, the chronic absenteeism rate, which measures the number of students who missed 10 percent of school days or more, decreased 10 percentage points from 35 percent in 2021–22 to 24.4 percent in 2022–23.

“This is great news because we know there is a direct correlation between student outcomes and school attendance,” Dr. Mendiburu said. “Simply put, if students are not in class, they are not learning.”

Growth, Engagement & Support

Kern County’s collective education community — educators, parents, and students — has worked diligently and collaboratively since the onset of the pandemic on numerous strategies to help mitigate learning gaps and we will continue to do so moving forward.

KCSOS recently outlined its renewed PURPOSE statement, which affirms the organization’s promise to Providing Uplifting Resources Prioritizing Our Student’s Education. Key elements to this purpose are the Kern Integrated Data System (KiDS) and KCSOS’s commitment to continuously increasing and improving its supports and services offered to local school districts.

KiDS is a one-of-a-kind data warehouse that all of Kern’s 46 school districts are subscribed to. The system brings together all available student information — attendance, test scores, state assessments, discipline, grades, local assessments, and more — into one location for ease of access so educators can see the whole picture of a child. The real-time data helps inform classroom instruction and flag problem areas so intervention can be quickly deployed.

In turn, KCSOS offers numerous professional development opportunities, professional networks, and other support programs to assist school districts with achieving academic growth. Specific to promoting growth in ELA and math, KCSOS has increased professional development and supports in those areas by 600 percent since 2019.

CAASPP assessment results are available to the public at HERE but it’s important to note that assessment results are only one measure and should be combined with other information such report card grades, classroom assignments, or teacher observations to better understand student achievement and progress.

“This is great news because we know there is a direct correlation between student outcomes and school attendance,” Dr. Mendiburu said. “Simply put, if students are not in class, they are not learning.

By Robert Meszaros

By Robert Meszaros

Rob Meszaros is Director of Communications for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, where he has served since 2012. In his role, Meszaros oversees media relations, internal and external communication strategies, publications, Marcom, branding, and multi-media content creation. Before joining KCSOS, Meszaros was the PIO for CSU Bakersfield and earlier worked for seven years at The Bakersfield Californian.