New Testing for K-12 Public School Students in California
PALM SPRINGS--A new way of testing what your kids are learning in school was proposed Tuesday by the State Superintendent of Schools. Tom Torlakson announced a new statewide testing system for k-12 students here in California, and its' a radical change from what children had been doing.
State Superintendent Torlakson made 12 recommendations to fundamentally change the state's assessment system. He wants to move away from the paper and pencil based STAR testing and replace it with a computerized system that would actually gauge whether or not students understand what they're learning.
The recommendations shift the focus of standardized testing from memorization to more critical thinking.
"We're moving to a newer dimension," Torlakson said. "A much higher dimension. A smarter, more effective learning system with continuous improvement check points built into it."
Torlakson says the pencil to paper tests are a thing of the past. The new tests follow the guidelines of the Common Core State Standards. At Palm Springs Unified, Director of Elementary Education, Tony Knapp, says he's encouraged by the new testing and says it will help get kids ready for life after school.
"We think this is a big movement forward especially looking at career and college readiness that we want to see the students move towards," Knapp said.
The new testing method moves students away from rogue memorization and determines if they actually understand what they've learned in the classroom.
"I think it's so very important that we make this shift and know that it's going to create a much stronger learning environment within our classroom and help us get a much more accurate pulse on how our students are performing in core subjects," said State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, 14th District.
The existing STAR testing is scheduled to end in July of 2014, the new testing system will begin in the 2014-2015 school year.
Torlakson also says this new way of testing will allow teachers to get results mid-year so they'll be able to shift their curriculum to better meet the needs of students.
-- Adrianna Weingold