State Adopts New Testing Model

The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Test has been officially “phased out” by the State of California, and will be replaced by a more comprehensive exam starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

The exam will put the State of California in line with the Common Core Standards (CCSS), a national education initiative that the State Board of Education adopted on August 2, 2012. Thus far, 45 states have ratified the CCSS.

According to the CCSS website, “Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.”

On Tuesday, January 8, the State Superintendent Tom Torlakson proposed to the California government and state legislature a massive overhaul of California’s standardized testing. His proposal was for a new, updated exam that would include thought-provoking, open-ended essays alongside projects of a much more comprehensive nature than that of the current standardized tests.
The new exam will try to test what a student understands instead of what they have simply memorized. The exam incorporates written essays and may potentially include projects designed to engage students to stimulate further learning. The exams will be proctored on computers, which translates to faster turnaround of exam results and allows teachers to receive feedback earlier.
At the school, many teachers have expressed interest in the new testing standard.

“I hope the new Common Core exams will be much more conducive to learning and open many more avenues for discussion,” history teacher Seth Donnelly said. “The current STAR test multiple choice really stresses bubbling in rotely memorized topics too much.”

However, like any new major standardized exam, many teachers will have to redesign their curriculums and recalibrate their teaching. Regardless, students and teachers will have to prepare for the new standards.