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 Why We Need New Assessments

​This spring, students across the county and state are going to take new assessment tests in English language arts and mathematics.

This is an exciting and important transition that will ultimately benefit students and parents by raising the expectations on students across the state.

Because the things we want students to know and be able to do have changed, our assessments had to change as well.

These assessments are aligned with our new state standards, which were designed to encourage critical thinking, analytical writing, and real-world problem solving. These are skills students will need to be successful in school and in life.

The new assessments will provide more information more quickly going forward, allowing educators more time to plan professional development and fine-tune curriculum. Interim assessments can be used by teachers throughout the year to monitor student progress and identify specific student learning needs.

There will be fewer multiple-choice questions and more short answers and extended responses that will require a deeper understanding of key concepts. The computer-based testing will include embedded supports that will give all students the opportunity to fully demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of the state standards.

The new assessments were created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a collaborative, state-led group comprised of educators, researchers, policymakers and community groups.

The new assessments are part of a larger plan for ensuring high-quality teaching and learning in every school. The plan also includes higher academic standards, more decision-making in the hands of schools and communities, and more resources dedicated to schools and to students with the greatest needs.

For more information about the assessments, visit the California Department of Education's CAASPP website.