State Test Scores a Promising Signal of Pandemic Recovery

OLYMPIA––September 9, 2022––Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will release data from the spring 2022 state assessments, the first "typical" statewide test since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The data show 70% of Washington's students were proficient or made progress from the fall 2021 assessments, providing a promising first look at pandemic recovery and acceleration.

The state tests, which are one of many indicators of student learning, are intended to gauge a student's performance relative to grade-level learning goals in math, English language arts, and science. On a broad scale, test scores can influence investments and policy priorities to support student learning. At an individual level, scores from the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) are designed to indicate whether a student is on track for college-level learning without needing remedial classes.

Families, policymakers, and community members should be cautious about viewing state assessment scores as the primary indicator of student learning and growth. Engagement, attendance, grades, and classroom-based assignments and tests all provide important and timely information about individual students' progress to their families and educators.

Last spring, Washington students were tested in math and English language arts in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10; and in science in grades 5, 8, and 11. The two figures below include data from the SBA, as well as from the Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM) alternate assessments for students in grades 3–10 with significant cognitive disabilities.