Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GAME CHANGER: State legislature approves major updates to student assessments

Dear San Diego Unified community:

Many of you have heard that there is new state legislation, AB 484, which proposes the suspension of the state standardized tests. The bill will likely be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. As educators, this is a singular opportunity to focus our district on teaching and learning FIRST, while supporting accountability aligned to the new Common Core State Standards and our work in classrooms with students.

Supt. Marten
This seminal legislation eliminates most Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessments and supports the transformation of public education. It will allow educators across the state to focus our attention, efforts and resources on student learning as we prepare for the monumental transition to the new standards. We welcome the shifts that are needed to prepare our students to be critical thinkers and active members of society, moving us into an era of deeper learning. The suspension does not reflect a departure from accountability, but rather the opportunity to implement Common Core with fidelity to the educational vision.

As a former classroom teacher and principal, I understand the value of using data as a tool to inform instruction. We will continue to use modified district assessments and hold ourselves accountable in every classroom across the district. The state system of public school accountability can now be more closely aligned with both the public expectations for our schools and the workforce needs of the state’s economy. The revised 2013-14 state testing program would continue to include:
  1. California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for grades 2-11;
  2. Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Field tests, which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, in English Language Arts (ELA) or Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11;
  3. California Standards Test (CST) and California Modified Assessment (CMA) Science assessments in grades 5, 8 and 10 (Life Science);
  4. ELA and Math assessments supporting the students’ voluntary participation of Early Assessment Program (EAP) in grade 11;
  5. The California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), California English Language Development Test (CELDT) and Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) will be administered.
At San Diego Unified, we embrace our responsibility to provide the best public education experience to our students. We also welcome the accountability to ensure our students graduate our schools prepared to be actively literate, contributing, participating members in our communities.

Cindy Marten