SACRAMENTO — A bill ending the standardized tests that California public school students have taken in reading, math and social science since 1999 received Gov. Jerry Brown's signature on Wednesday, despite a threat by the U.S. secretary of education to withhold federal funds if the state moved forward with the plan.
Assembly Bill 484 replaces the pencil-and-paper, multiple-choice STAR tests with new language and math tests taken on computers. The new assessments, called Measurement of Academic Progress and Performance, were designed with other states to follow a set of national curriculum standards known as Common Core.
"I've said from the beginning, California needs tests that measure how ready our students are for the challenges of a changing world," said California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who championed the rapid shift away from the STAR tests. "Today, we have taken a huge step in that direction by creating an assessment system focused on improving teaching and learning and by sending a clear signal about our commitment to this urgent work."
The new tests are still under development, so schools will be required to give them on a practice basis in grades 3-8 and 11 this spring, with students taking either the math or language sections, but not both.
No individual student scores, school performance reports or statewide results — measurements that parents use to gauge their children's advancement and politicians and business leaders use to compare schools — would be generated from the rollout.