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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
September 23, 2014
In this testing and accountability focused issue of  Leading Change, we take a look at a question on many educators' minds-- how does the CDE think the Smarter Balanced Field tests went... and what does it mean for the full rollout of the new assessments this spring?

We also bring you a subscriber-only piece from EdSource executive director Louis Freedberg: he reads the tea leaves about Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's recent comments that were highly critical of testing--a sign of changes to come? 

We encourage you to share this issue with friends or colleagues and we hope you find it useful. What else would you like to read about in future issues? Let us know.  

Best regards,

Erin Brownfield
Leading Change

By Louis Freedberg


Last spring over 3 million students in California were able to take the field tests of new online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards without major technical breakdowns or system crashes, according to state officials.


If the conclusions of state officials are correct, California is on track to avoid the widespread technological failures in administering the new assessments that many had feared might occur.  

John Fensterwald reports that California has become the eighth state to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for the standardized tests in the Common Core State Standards that students will take next spring.

The article includes important additional resources regarding the Smarter Balanced tests in the "Going Deeper" section. Read more.

While the state's standardized testing program is being revamped during the transition to the new Common Core State Standards, the fate of the high school exit exam--the one test students must pass--remains murky.
Read more.

Leading Change Exclusive Content

Duncan attacks testing -- but will it lead to a change in federal policies?

By Louis Freedberg


During the dog days of summer, one of the nation's best known supporters of testing students to hold schools--and teachers--accountable unleashed a harsh but little-noticed critique of testing.


The attack was published in a blog post on the U.S. Department of Education's website, and was authored by none other than U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Read more. 


No easy answers on incorporating "college and career readiness" into API
Courtesy of the Life Academy School in Oakland

The "career" piece of "college and career readiness" continues to challenge the state advisory committee that is charged with reworking the primary measure of school effectiveness in California.


The Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee has been working to define how to incorporate the new measures in the API. Further complicating the committee's work is uncertainty about the future of the API itself. And the president of the State Board of Education has said he'd like to move away from using the API as the be-all, end-all measure of school performance.  Read more. 


On our reading list

This in-depth EdSource report explains the changes to California's testing and accountability systems along with a timeline for implementation and recommendations for maximizing their effectiveness and impact.

Fixing Our National Accountability System

Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy, argues for a complete overhaul of our nation's testing and accountability system that includes reducing test-taking in schools and creating a career ladder for teachers.

Testing & accountability resources

The next big task for Smarter Balanced? Shaping achievement level scores to create categories of student performance.  This link  provides more information about achievement levels, as well as opportunities for educators, and the public, to sign up for online panels to provide input. 

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress
offered a webcast in August about preparation and setup for administration of the new Common Core aligned testing.  Click here for the archived video, which contains key dates and instructions for test administrators.


Ask the teacher: New tests, Common Core are very different
from the OC Register

Carol Veravanich, columnist for the OC Register. Sam Gangwer, Staff Photographer 
This school year, and next summer when the first test scores are released, I am warning you that these scores are not going to be what we are used to seeing. This year, we took a practice test and it was so different from anything I have seen. I did not find the tests developmentally appropriate. It is time to worry or change our testing program.

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