Students in California’s public schools will no longer have to take the standard student-assessment exam called the STAR test.
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Wednesday that will replace the annual STAR tests with computerized statewide assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards.
The Berkeley Unified School District issued a flyer last month about the Common Core Standards.
State schools chief Tom Torlakson hailed the measure as an important step in enabling students to face the rapidly changing challenges of the future.
“Faced with the choice of preparing California’s children for the future or continuing to cling to outdated policies of the past, our state’s leaders worked together and made the right choice for our students,” Torlakson said.
AB484, authored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), facilitates the creation of a roadmap that will enable educators to determine how much knowledge students are absorbing and adjust their lesson plans accordingly.
"This is one of the most important and revolutionary changes to education policy, and California is the right state to lead the way," Bonilla said in a statement. "With this new law, our schools can move away from outdated STAR tests and prepare students and teachers for better assessments that reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and careers,” she added.
The bill creates a new system called the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, which sets new learning targets for educators to reach based on grade levels.
A major difference in the new system is that schools will test students with an adaptive exam that is similar to the GRE test and conducted on a computer. When a student answers a question, the program will increase or decrease the difficulty level of the test to more accurately assess the student’s grasp of a concept. The test will be aligned with the Common Core State standards.
Most public schools in California have been using the traditional paper and pencil tests. Since 2010, 45 out of 50 states have adopted the Common Core Standards, which essentially streamline expectations for students and educators.
The legislation says that the new MAPP will “enable pupils to learn about their readiness for college-level English and mathematics before their senior year of high school.” One of the endeavor's implicit goals is for students in public schools to obtain skills necessary to be competitive in a 21st century job market, such as the ability to interact with computers.
The impact this will have on a school's Academic Performance Index score is being assessed.
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