California education officials presented a proposal Wednesday that would immediately do away with the standardized reading, math and social science tests used to measure student learning and school performance since the late 1990s.
Instead of giving the multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper STAR tests in those subjects this spring, the state would introduce new language and math tests that are administered on computers and have been developed with other states, California Deputy Superintendent Deb Sigman told the California Board of Education. The state previously had planned only to sample the new tests, an outgrowth of the national Common Core curriculum standards that have been adopted by 45 states, with about 20 percent of California's 3.3 million public school students. The accelerated timeline is aimed at quickly moving teachers and students toward the types of lessons and materials measured by the more rigorous tests, which officials say emphasize analytical skills over rote memorization. "It sends a message that we think is very important to the field, that we're serious about this, that we want you to have the time and the space to be able to make this work," Sigman said. The proposal requires approval from the California Legislature and the U.S. Department of Education.