The Blog

Bill to Suspend STAR Tests Up for a Vote

Lawmakers are finalizing a few key bills -- some that impact educators and students -- as they prepare to recess this Friday.

Among the many bills is AB 484 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and sponsored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, which overhauls the state's accountability system in preparation for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. CTA continues to have a support position on the bill. It is also supported by the Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, educators and parents.

In general, AB 484 provides a transition to new computer-based assessments that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards by suspending the state's current Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program for one year and replacing it with the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP). The goal is to clear the decks of the outdated and out-of-sync tests this year. The bill phases in the new assessments and accountability system through 2016-17 to ensure student and educator readiness for the new standards. It also eliminates second grade testing.

The legislature is scheduled to vote on the bill today. Unfortunately, at the 11th hour, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a news statement saying he will deny the waiver California must submit in order for students not to take the STAR tests this year. Read Torlakson's reaction.

We believe this would be counterproductive to the good work we've been doing collaboratively in this state to make sure our students are prepared for the new standards and to ensure assessments are not done in a punitive way. Thankfully, the Governor and legislative leaders are proceeding with the bill.

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