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 What Happened to The State Assessment Tests?

​Some parents may wonder why they won't get their children's results for state assessment testing this year as they have in the past.

The pause in testing is part of the transition to a new online assessment system that will allow for richer, more varied exams. The new system will be aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

A California law (AB-484) suspended for the 2013-14 school year most Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessments that children in grades 2 through 11 used to take each spring. Instead, some students will take field tests that will assess the new system rather than the students' abilities.

Beginning in 2015, students in grades 3 through 8 along with those in grade 11 will take the new online assessments, which will emphasize critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving—modeling the kind of teaching and learning needed to prepare all students for the demands of college and the modern workplace.

The new Common Core-aligned assessments will only be for English language arts and mathematics.

Parents and teachers also will begin getting new reports generated from the assessments. These reports will be available more quickly and offer more information than ever before and will include how much growth a student has made since last taking the tests.

The assessments were created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a collaborative state-led group of educators, researchers, policymakers and community groups. They will use computer-adaptive technology and will feature short answer and interactive questions as well as multiple-choice.

Local school districts have prepared for these new assessments by participating in a testing pilot, upgrading technology, and providing professional development for teachers and administrators, among other things.

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 graduate from high school prepared for college or the workforce.