More surprising was the math results. While much of the conversation regarding math has focused on the lack of achievement by girls, Smarter Balance outcomes reveal boys and girls are essentially equal. Boys and girls are within 1% of one another in 3rd and 5th grades. However, girls begin to outperform boys by 6th grade and the trend continues into 7th, 8th, and 11th grades, where girls outperform boys in meeting and exceeding state standards by 2% to 4%. While the overall outcomes show a 1% difference, girls assessment outcomes in math slightly advance those of boys starting in middle school and through 11th grade on California's Smarter Balance Summative Assessment test.
After more than a year of remote learning, standardized testing may be needed more than ever to assess the skill levels of boys and girls in Math and ELA. Attempts have been made by California and other states to get a blanket waiver from standardized testing, according to Sydney Johnson of EdSource: "Teachers, principals and other education officials across the state have pushed for a blanket waiver from standardized testing this year, including the majority of the State Board of Education members and the California Teachers Association. However, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Feb. 22 that the tests will be required this year and has rejected requests for statewide blanket waivers from states such as New York."