The STAR system of standardized testing in California public schools is being scrapped, the state superintendent of public instruction said Tuesday. In its place, says Superintendent Tom Torlakson, is something that should require “students to think critically, solve problems, and show a greater depth of knowledge.”
In a report issued Tuesday [see attached PDF], Torlakson made a dozen recommendations. They would replace the paper-and-pencil based Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program assessments with computerized assessments developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium starting in the 2014‒15 school year.
“Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-bubble tests alone simply cannot do the job anymore, and it’s time for California to move forward with assessments that measure the real-world skills our students need to be ready for a career and for college,” Torlakson said.
“As a teacher, what’s most exciting is that these new tests will serve as models for the kind of high-quality teaching and learning we want in every classroom every day,” he said. “The concept is simple but powerful: If our tests require students to think critically and solve problems to do well on test day, those same skills are much more likely to be taught in our classrooms day in and day out.”
U-T San Diego reported that “some schools, including 30 in San Diego, are scheduled to administer drafts of the tests to students this spring as part of a pilot project.”
Torlakson’s office said the report was mandated by Assembly Bill 250 [see attached PDF], which bring school curriculum, instruction and the state assessment system into alignment with the Common Core State Standards. The state’s existing STAR Program assessments are scheduled to sunset July 1, 2014.
“California is one of 45 states and three territories that formally have adopted the CCSS for mathematics and English‒language arts,” said his office. “The proposed revisions to align the state’s assessment system with the new standards mark a key milestone in implementing the Common Core.”
Good move? Or was old system doing the right job?