Saturday, September 7, 2013

Adieu the California STAR TEST.

Common Core standards require electronic devices for
"testing" students , get ready for
for a crash.
Well I could not believe my eyes when I read the Mercury News paper here in San Jose California . If   Assembly Bill 484 pushes through , California will end decades long end the use of STAR tests in math and English for the school year now underway. In its place, schools could opt in to new assessments aligned to Common Core Standards. I am  sure my teacher friends all must of shouted for joy. As a skeptic for anything that comes out out of government , state or federal . It's always a catch -22 , bait and switch . Careful thought on this . While the bureaucrats in Washington D.C.  , or Sacramento California , both Democrats and Republicans , yes both of them are usually in co-hoots when they come to the issue of  "education". The both parties jump the gun on "accountability" and "controlling" what we have called the American education system . Now is a bye word of draconialism . The "testing" will not go away with Common Core, but it will get worse on this insane thing we are all calling "teacher accountability" . Where is the NEA on Common Core?The bill originally called for 20 percent of the state's schools to participate in a trial run of the new tests. Now, any district can  opt in to test the computer-based test this school year. Gov. Jerry Brown strongly supported the amendments. The bill is sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson."It's time for a clean break from assessments that are out of date and out of sync with the work our schools are doing to shift to the Common Core and help students meet the challenges of a changing world," Torlakson said in a statement. STAR tests will be permanently replaced next school year by the new test, called Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, or MAPP. The real problem isn't the testing, though I agree that a standardized test of some sort should always be used to monitor learning and progress.  The real problem is Sacramento and Washington. According to a report by EdSource's John Fensterwald, Deputy Superintendent Deb Sigman laid out the plan for the California board of education.  Here is what a  report said , I quote . In a telephone interview with EdWeek, Sigman explained that the state proposes to give the math field test to 10 percent of its students and the English/language arts field test to another 10 percent. That will meet Smarter Balanced's need for a scientific sample to advance the development of the test. The rest of the state's students would be expected to take either the math or the English/language arts field test as well, she said. The savings realized from cutting out most STAR testing can be used to finance the broader administration of the field tests, she said. My italics here , she is saying that "cost savings" are about reducing the printing of the STAR tests . It's VARY EXPENSIVE to print the "tests" and much as the "school text books" in California . The answer is obvious to me that the NEW testing tied to Common Core are likely to be electronic , which is like everything else these days . I don't think it's going to make being a teacher any easier , but more conditioning seems to coming .   double-testing is a concern in spring 2014, since both PARCC and Smarter Balanced are planning field tests then. It's a particular problem in Smarter Balanced states, since more students are required to participate in order to make a bank of test items big enough for the consortium's computer-adaptive exam. California, however, is not a state that obtained a waiver from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. So its change in testing would presumably need approval from the federal Education Department.  ***Remember the transition from paper test materials to Common Core computer testing may look in the long run as a budget savings for the state , but hardly when you have to buy enough computers for testing each child to each school district in the state .  Just to accommodate the new 'Standard' . The long haul is vary expensive . The tsunami is coming. Get ready. For School burn out.


***There are many pros and cons with online testing as, say, compared with paper-and-pencil tests. But whatever those pros are for paper-and-pencil tests, they are out slugged and outstripped by the surge of buying new devices and piloting of computer-based tests to get ready for Common Core assessments (see hereand here). Los Angeles Unified school district, the second largest in the nation, just signed a $50 million contract with Apple for  iPads. One of the key reasons to buy these devices for the initial rollout for 47 schools was Common Core standards and assessment. Each iPad comes with an array of pre-loaded software compatible with the state online testing system and impending national assessments. The entire effort is called The Common Core Technology Project.

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