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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #13-52
May 1, 2013
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

Key Committee Approves Overhaul of Public School Testing

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Move to College, Career Readiness

SACRAMENTO—Legislation sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to create a new statewide assessment system using computer-based exams that would measure and promote student progress toward career and college readiness was approved today by the Assembly Education Committee.

The Committee approved Assembly Bill 484 (Bonilla), which would limit the use of outdated Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system tests for the 2013-14 school year and begin statewide use of new assessments aligned to California's Common Core State Standards in 2014-15.

"California's students need the real-world skills that open the door to success in a career and in college," Torlakson said. "These new assessments will tell us whether we're getting the job done—and give teachers and parents new insights and new tools to address the needs of students who need more help."

"As reliable as STAR tests are, we've all worried for years about ‘teaching to the test'—making students better at choosing the right answer on a fill-in-the-bubble test rather than improving student learning," Torlakson added. "These new assessments will instead ask students to reason through complex problems, and think in-depth."

Torlakson's proposal would retain assessments required to meet federal mandates or those administered under the Early Assessment Program, as the state moves to put in place tests developed by the Smarter Balanced consortium. California serves as one of the governing states in the consortium.

AB 484 would establish the California Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress for the 21st Century (CALMAPP21), including the use of the Smarter Balanced assessments, to replace the existing STAR program.

The legislation is based on Torlakson's recommendations contained in his Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System released in January to guide the process of reauthorizing and revamping California's statewide assessment system, which currently sunsets on July 1, 2014.

AB 484 will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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