State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson projected today that his recommendation to suspend standardized tests not required by the federal government starting next year would save more than $15 million, and called for the savings to be used to develop new high-quality assessments.
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“Rather than continuing to spend scarce dollars and precious class time on outdated testing, we can invest these resources in developing the next generation of assessments that will help students focus on critical thinking and problem-solving— the skills they will need in college and their careers,” Torlakson said.
The estimated savings and a summary of the state’s current assessment system were detailed in a presentation today to the State Board of Education. The savings are broken down into contract savings and non-contract savings:
* Some $11,347,000 represents a reduction in contract costs and could be used for planning and facilitation of the transition to new assessments, and to further the development and/or acquisition of new assessments, particularly in mathematics and science.
* The remaining $3,750,000 represents a reduction in apportionments to local districts. These are local reimbursements that occur after the testing is completed.
Torlakson is sponsoring Assembly Bill 484 (Bonilla), which would enact his recommendations for transitioning California’s schools to a new assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
“These new assessments will provide our schools with a way to measure how ready students are for the challenges of a changing world,” Torlakson said. “That’s why, despite the budget and other challenges, California must move forward now so that all children—no matter where they come from or where they live—receive a world-class education.”
The assessments proposed for suspension do not include those that are specifically mandated by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act or used for the Early Assessment Program. This would suspend Standardized Testing and Reporting Program’s (STAR) testing of second graders and end-of-course exams at the high school level.
See the list of assessments proposed for suspension below.
Torlakson’s proposal is one of 12 that were in his January report to the Governor and Legislature—Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System—that would fundamentally change the state’s student assessment system, replacing the paper-and-pencil based STAR Program assessments with computerized assessments developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium starting in the 2014?15 school year. The state’s existing STAR Program assessments are scheduled to sunset July 1, 2014.
Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System can be found on the Statewide Pupil Assessment System  Web page. More information on California’s efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards can be found on the California Department of Education’s Common Core State Standards Web page.
Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program
Assessments that would be suspended during the 2013-14 school year
(Not Required for Elementary and Secondary Education Act or Early Assessment Program)
* Grade 2 ELA and Mathematics (CST and CAPA).
* Grade 8 History–Social Science (CST).
* Grade 9 ELA (CST, CMA, and CAPA).
* Grade 9 Math (CAPA).
* Grade 10 ELA (CST and CMA).
* Grade 11 U.S. History (CST).
* Grade 11 ELA (CMA and CAPA).
* Grade 11 Math (CAPA).
* Grade 2–11 Reading/Language Arts (STS).
* Grade 2–7 Mathematics (STS).
* Algebra I (CST and CMA) (for grades 9-11).
* Algebra II (CST) (for grades 9-10).
* General Mathematics (CST) (grade 9).
* High School Summative Math (CST) (for grades 9-10).
* Geometry (CST and CMA) (for grades 9-11).
* Integrated Mathematics 1 (CST) (for grades 9-11).
* Integrated Mathematics 2 (CST) (for grades 9-11).
* Integrated Mathematics 3 (CST) (for grades 9-11).
* Biology (CST).
* Chemistry (CST).
* Earth Science (CST).
* Physics (CST).
* Integrated/Coordinated Science 1 (CST).
* Integrated/Coordinated Science 2 (CST).
* Integrated/Coordinated Science 3 (CST).
* Integrated/Coordinated Science 4 (CST).
* World History (CST).
* Algebra I (STS).
* Geometry (STS).
* EAP: Early Assessment Program.
* ELA: English-Language Arts.
* CAPA: California Alternate Performance Assessment.
* CMA: California Modified Assessment.
* CST: California Standards Test.
* STS: Standards-based Tests in Spanish
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