September 11, 2013
State Senate Approves Statewide Testing Overhaul Legislation
Schools and Teachers to Focus on Higher Standards, Deeper Learning
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson applauded Senate approval Tuesday of Assembly Bill 484 that would let most students "test drive" new computer-based assessments this year and suspend usage of most of the state's outdated multiple-choice exams.
"This vote brings us a step closer to trading our outdated fill-in-the-bubble paper tests for new, computerized assessments that model the skills today's students need," Torlakson said. "If we want our education system to inspire students to learn to think critically and solve problems, we need tests to match those lofty goals."
The legislation now heads to the Assembly for a final vote before heading to Governor Brown for his signature.
Sponsored by Torlakson and authored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, Assembly Bill 484 now calls for nearly all of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program to be suspended during field tests of new assessments known as the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP). The bill calls for the new program to permanently replace STAR tests in the 2014-15 school year.
As originally written, the bill would have continued all federally required STAR tests for one more year during the transition. The revised legislation, coauthored by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, calls for a full suspension of STAR tests in mathematics and English-language arts, while leaving science tests in place. The legislation also leaves in place voluntary primary language assessments, specialized assessments for students with severe disabilities, and the Early Assessment Program for grade eleven.
The State Board of Education voted unanimously last week to seek a waiver consistent with state law from the U.S Department of Education to suspend all standardized testing, including federally required tests.