California Could Face Year With No Meaningful Testing Data
Hillel Aron | August 9, 2013
People are still scratching their heads over what happened with California students’ test scores, which went down for the first time in a decade, as the state reported on Thursday.
But the greater uncertainty could lie ahead.
The plan is for all students to be tested on a new curriculum — the Common Core State Standards — in 2015. Those tests will be administered on computers. But what about 2014? The State Assembly hasn’t quite made a decision on that front, but 2014 could be a lost year in terms of meaningful testing data.
Assembly Bill 484, which has been approved by the Assembly and is currently being debated in a state Senate committee, would eliminate all of the California Standardized Tests that high school students would have taken over the 2013-2014 academic year — tests in subjects like history, algebra, chemistry and physics. Some students will take the new Common Core tests, and students in grades 3 through 8 would still take the CSTs for Title 1 purposes.
“The tests will be irrelevant,” said John Mockler, an education consultant who served briefly as interim California Education Secretary and was one of the architects of Proposition 30. “Some kids are going to take these new Common Core tests, some kids are going to take the old STAR test. Either one of those or both will be invalid, because they test different things. They can’t be used for accountability purposes.”
If AB 484 doesn’t pass, most students would take the CSTs for one final year.
Either way, California testing will face, in 2015, the same sort of rocky results that New York is facing this year, when transition to the Common Core caused their scores to plummet.