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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #15-80
October 26, 2015
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Plan by the U.S. Department of Education to Limit Testing

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today praised the decision by the U.S. Department of Education to limit testing and to make sure testing that takes place is of high quality.

"We are very pleased by the plan put out by the federal government. California has been a leader in trying to limit testing," Torlakson said. "In 2013-2014, we worked hard to obtain a double testing waiver that the federal government was reluctant to approve, arguing that double testing was counterproductive and a waste of time to test on the old standards when we were teaching the new standards."

In 2014, instead of giving two tests, California gave one field test on the California standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, often referred to as Common Core. "The field test paved the way for the successful administration of Smarter Balanced online test of 3.2 million students, which took place last spring," Torlakson said.

Smarter Balanced is part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).

California also eliminated testing in the second grade for English language arts and mathematics as well as end-of-course assessments in a wide variety of courses, including world history, geometry, and integrated math. In addition, California has suspended the California High School Exit Exam for the next three years.

Torlakson applauded the federal government for stating clearly that tests should just be one measure of student performance. "Tests provide valuable information that can identify a student's progress and help improve instruction, but we believe tests should be only one of many measures used to gauge a student's progress, along with homework, class tests, grades, and other factors," Torlakson said.

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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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