This year may finally be the time to get a major overhaul in education – simpler, fairer, more flexible and accountable.Yes, such a change would only effect college-bound students, but at least it's a start.
Two big proposals have lined up.
First is Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to change how schools are funded...
Second is Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's bill to overhaul the state's Academic Performance Index, a proposal tweaked after the governor vetoed his major education bill last year.
Brown said he wanted local panels to visit schools, observe teachers, interview students and examine student work. Steinberg's Senate Bill 1458 has that.
Brown said he wanted to reduce time on testing. Steinberg's bill calls for a plan to "streamline and reduce state-mandated middle and secondary school testing, including, but not limited to, eliminating redundant assessments and assessments that lack tangible meaning for pupils." The number of tests doesn't look excessive. But the tests are sometimes too long and need to be revised.
The timing is perfect for this. California has adopted the voluntary, multistate Common Core State Standards. California's old STAR system, launched by the Legislature in 1997, sunsets and a new assessment system is supposed to be in place for the 2014-15 school year. Steinberg should make sure that the timelines in his bill match the timelines for the Common Core Standards.
To make sure tests have "tangible meaning" for students, especially in high school, Steinberg should consider linking them to UC/CSU entrance tests or noting results on transcripts. (boldface mine--Darren)
Monday, April 23, 2012
Making State Tests Count For Students
One of the biggest flaws of our state standardized testing regimen is that there is no incentive, absent personal motivation, for students to do their best. The tests count for nothing to the students. When even the local (left-leaning) paper sounds the call for a change, that's significant: