California school officials scratching their he over how to roll out standardized tests this spring could soon have another option. Department of Education that would allow California school districts to use locally selected tests rather than the Smarter Balanced statewide assessments, which are required by state and federal education law. One major wrinkle with allowing districts to select alternative assessments is that it would hurt the ability for statewide comparisons. States are required to administer annual standardized tests in reading and math for students in grades and once in high school under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and California administers the Smarter Balanced tests every spring to comply with that law.
The U. Department of Education waived federal testing requirements after schools closed for in-person instruction in March due to the pandemic and later announced they would continue this year. But this year, as teachers have moved to the front of the vaccination line and cases of Covid have ificantly dipped, the State Board of Education has been struggling to strike a balance for stressed-out teachers and students who need a break and the parents, advocacy groups and other education officials who want to see data on how the past year has impacted learning.
The vote for local assessments comes amid a massive statewide effort to bring more students back to school for in-person instruction. Nearly 9, schools in California have or plan to soon bring back students to campus beginning with grades TK-2 and students with high needs, Gov.
Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
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But even in districts where all schools have reopened or plan to reopen soon, some families are sticking with distance learning, creating a patchwork of plans and learning models that districts must accommodate as they prepare for standardized testing. Teachers, principals and other education officials across the state have pushed for a blanket waiver from standardized testing this year, including the majority of the State Board of Education members and the California Teachers Association.
However, the U. Department of Education announced on Feb. In lieu of a blanket waiver, the California State Board of Education has implemented a shortened version of the math and English language arts tests, and remote proctoring tools are now built into the system. In February, the state board also voted to pursue a waiver eliminating the California Science Test forextended the time frame for all tests to July 30, and decoupled the test participation requirements from any consequences. News about the potential for local assessments came as a relief to some school officials, especially those where the majority of students are still in distance learning and Covid cases are still high.
In Elk Grove Unified, students are beginning to fill their classroom seats once again.
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Across California, nearly 14, English language arts and 8, mathematics Smarter Balanced assessments are underway. This time last year, there were about 43, English language arts tests in-process and about 19, in math, and over 26, California Science Tests had been completed. The majority of districts indicated that they would use the Smarter Balanced assessments or a local option if approved. Lacking specific guidance on which assessments to use and ever-changing reopening details has led many districts to hold off on pinning down any decision on testing, either remotely or in person.
But since we are still fully in distance learning, instructional time is really valuable. The district does not yet have a formal plan for math and English language arts assessments this spring, he said, and is currently focused on administering English language proficiency assessments for students whose primary language is one other than English.
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All comments are moderated for civility, relevance and other considerations. for EdSource's Comments Policy. As a parent, I'm frustrated and disappointed by this. Remember, recent studies show that half of all grades are A's. With that much grade inflation, it's hard to know out where your child stands and what they've learned. When you add in the variation between teachers, schools, districts, and states, it's impossible. Which makes us dependent on standardized tests for this information.
And, explains why there are so many tests out there. Educators are … .
Educators are already giving us useless information about how are children are doing. Letting them pick the test, at best, removes comparability.
Which, more than anything else, is what we need. Or, if it even has. My son struggled in school in grades 1 - 6.
However, he always did above average on the STAR exam. This gave me feedback that he could read, write and do arithmetic.
In middle school I was contacted by his teachers who told me he was having trouble. I started supervising his homework and he went from a D average to a B- average. He graduated high school on the …. My son struggled in school in grades 1 — 6.
He graduated high school on the honor role. My comment is this: The STAR exam provides excellent information to a parent about how is doing. I hope you do not alter the exam or change it in anyway.
It is doing its job! This is a great decision.
Testing and ability. Sydney Johnson March 17, 3 Comments. This story has been updated to reflect the portion of students who will remain in distance learning in Elk Grove Unified.
Republish this article. But educators have no interest in that. Bigger picture, educators continue to move in one direction and parents in another. Thanks for ing up! I'm a human.