When the results of new academic assessments become
available in 2015, the way they look and what they tell us will be different
from previous tests.
Not only are they new assessments, but they’re testing different
skills and come with a newly revamped set of expectations based on the Common
Core State Standards. Because of this, they won’t be comparable to previous
statewide test results.
Though educators and parents won’t be able to measure
progress by comparing the results with those from previous tests, the new
assessments will provide more information much more quickly going forward. Parents
and educators will be able to measure how much growth a student makes from year
to year in real-world skills.
“This will help students and parents
know if they are on track toward meeting the standards and being prepared for
college and a career,” said Sally Bennett-Schmidt, assessment director for the
San Diego County Office of Education.
With the new system, parents and educators will be able to
easily compare student achievement between schools, districts and states to
ensure that students are making progress.
The online assessments will feature a variety of different
questions types as well as the typical multiple-choice ones. With performance
tasks and more written responses, they will require a deeper understanding of
key concepts and stronger problem-solving skills than previous tests did.
The increased rigor and emphasis on critical thinking is
part of the Common Core standards created by state and education officials.
Students in grades 3 through 8 along with those in grade 11
will take the new online assessments in English language arts and mathematics.
The tests were created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment
Consortium, a collaborative state-led group of educators, researchers,
policymakers and community groups.
Local school districts have prepared for these new assessments in English language arts and
mathematics by participating in a testing pilot,
upgrading technology, and providing professional development for teachers and
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led
effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for
kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that more than 40
states, including California, have voluntarily adopted.
The standards are designed to ensure that students
graduating from high school ready for college or the workforce.
For more information about the Common Core State Standards,