Testing Window Opens in Solano County

Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck weighs in on the new CAAASP Testing in his county.

New Era of Student Assessment Begins in Solano County

Online Exams Allow Students to Demonstrate Writing, Thinking, Problem-Solving

News submitted from Solano County Office of Education:

Schools across Solano County have begun providing online exams in English language arts/literacy and mathematics to students based on the state’s more challenging academic standards, County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck announced today. Exact testing dates are determined by each school’s calendar and local school district officials.

In the first administration of the new test, students in grades three through eight and eleven will be taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), replacing the paper-based, multiple-choice Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. The CAASPP measures students’ ability to write analytically, think critically, and solve problems as well as their knowledge of facts in a particular subject.

“This new exam reflects the deeper learning students are achieving as they solve real-world problems in mathematics and think critically about what they read,” said Superintendent Speck. “The new test will provide parents and teachers an academic check-in of each student’s progress towards career and college readiness.”

The new assessment, given statewide, represents the next step in California’s plan to provide high-quality teaching and learning in every school, include higher academic standards, put more decision-making in the hands of schools and communities, and deliver more resources dedicated to schools and to students with the greatest needs.

The CAASPP uses computer adaptive technology to provide more accurate information about individual student performance. And because it is taken online, test results will be available to teachers, schools, and school districts on a timely basis so that students’ needs can be more quickly identified and addressed.

“One of the challenges for teachers and students will be the use of technology to take the new assessment and they’ll have to get used to how that works.” stated Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Associate Superintendent of Student Programs and Educational Services.

State officials have cautioned parents and the public against comparing the results of the new assessment with the old STAR exam, and acknowledged that many schools and students will need more time to become accustomed to the state’s standards and the new exam. This year’s test results will establish a baseline for the progress students are expected to make in future years.

California is among 21 states nationwide participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a state-led organization that developed the new assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which California adopted in 2010. California students took part in both pilot testing of the exam in 2013 and field testing in 2014 in preparation for this year’s launch.

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