By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the first half of the school year wraps up, it’s still unclear how much students may be impacted by distance learning.

Halfway through the school year, Christine Shelby’s kids still sit at their desks, studying from home.

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“How do we know they’re doing the same kinds of things they’d be doing if they were in the class?” Shelby said.

But weeks have passed since Shelby took the first day of school pictures of her boys, and measuring students’ success continues to be difficult at a distance.

“I feel good, but I don’t think we’ll know more until there’s some kind of assessments being done,” Shelby said.

In Manteca, teachers like Carol Bloomfield and Jennifer Adolfson already did an assessment for kids at the start fo the year, but both look at more than just test scores.

“You can’t just base success on an A grade. What are they coming in with and what are they going away with?” Adolfson said.

Statewide standardized testing may be one of the most universal ways to look at learning loss. The tests, which were waived last year due to the pandemic, are still scheduled at this point, but significantly shortened.

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Testing coordinators, including Vacaville Unified’s Samantha Working, say the data they get from these tests will be very useful.

“Where we can figure out what students have missed and what the gaps are, we can figure out how to intervene,” Working said.

But preparing for the tests continues to be a challenge. Teachers like Stockton’s Kellie Yoakum say no matter what, the pressure is always on.

“We won’t know until we get there,” Yoakum said. “They’re very high stakes and we always worry, did we do enough?”

Parents like Christine Shelby worry too for the future.

“If there is learning loss, we need more time in class without a pandemic to be able to fix it,” Shelby said.

The California Department of Education says the future of these standardized tests could change with a new administration moving into office.

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