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Not Your Standard Test

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Sacramento, CA – A new state standardized test could put an end to multiple choice questions that evaluate students knowledge of subjects. California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was asked by the state legislature last year to revamp the state’s bank of standardized tests that measure student progress in English language arts and math to qualify high school students for graduation.

Torlakson has made a dozen recommendations to replace the current paper and pencil based standardized state assessment tests with more computerized tests starting in the 2014‒15 school year. The proposed new testing comes as the state starts phasing in a new national curriculum standards known as Common Core State Standards.

“Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-bubble tests alone simply cannot do the job anymore. It’s time for California to move forward with assessments that measure the real-world skills our students need to be ready for a career and for college,” Torlakson said.

The state’s existing assessment testing system is scheduled to expire July 1, 2014. Tuolumne County Deputy Superintendent Margie Bulkin applauds the recommendations.

Bulkin says, “The recommendations suggest that assessment doesn’t mean just multiple choice questions and an essay. It means examining how students apply knowledge, use data and research information to come up with the answer. That’s real life. In real life we’re not bubbling in answers. So these advances are really forward thinking.”

Torlakson says the emphasis of the new testing will be on critical thinking and problem solving skills that will be aligned with Common Core’s focus. The recommendations also suggest slashing the number of standardized tests students take and strategically placing them during the year so teachers can use the results to help students work on trouble areas.

The California Board Of Education will consider these recommendations at its next board meeting in January.

Click here for the full list of recommendations.

Click here for more information on the Common Core State Standards system.


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