Students in California’s public schools no
longer have to take the infamous exit exam called the STAR test.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation that upgrades the state’s educational standards with the aid of modern technology.
AB484, authored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), facilitates the creation of a roadmap that
will enable educators to determine how much knowledge students are absorbing
and adjust their lesson plans accordingly.
"This is one of the most important and revolutionary changes to education policy, and California is the right state to lead the way," Bonilla said in a statement. "With this new law, our schools can move away from outdated STAR tests and prepare students and teachers for better assessments that reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and careers,” she added.
The bill creates a new system called
the Measurement of Academic
Performance and Progress, which sets new learning targets for
educators to reach based on grade levels.
A major difference in the new system is that schools will test students with an adaptive exam that is similar to the GRE test and conducted on a computer. When a student answers a question, the program will increase or decrease the difficulty level of the test to more accurately assess the student’s grasp of a concept.
While students in the Mill Valley School District have been utilizing these types of tests and standard core principles to measure student performance, most public schools in California have been using the traditional paper and pencil routine. Since 2010, 45 out of 50 states have adopted the Common Core Standards, which essentially streamline expectations for students and educators.
The legislation says that the new MAPP will “enable pupils to learn about their readiness for college-level English and mathematics before their senior year of high school.” One of the endeavor's implicit goals is for students in public schools to obtain skills necessary to be competitive in a 21st century job market, such as the ability to interact with computers.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, applauded the endeavor stating, "Faced with the choice of preparing California's children for the future or continuing to cling to outdated policies of the past, our state's leaders worked together and made the right choice for our students."
Torlakson said, "These new assessments
represent a challenge for our education system—but a lifetime of opportunity
for students. As a teacher, I'm thrilled to see our state and our schools once
again leading the way."
The impact this will have on a school's Academic Performance Index score is being assessed.
The following is important information regarding the Common Core implementation in Mill Valley schools:
Mill Valley School District is moving foward to fully implement Common
Core math and language arts in all grades K-8. Our teachers have been
undergoing extensive professional development over the past year and will
continue training efforts in the near and long term future.
Deep Content Instruction
Last year, the district hosted Dr. Phil Daro, one of the authors of the common core. He stressed that the California state standards were a “mile long and an inch deep.” The new common core standards are less in number and stress deep content learning. Dr. Daro’s presentation to Mill Valley parents was recorded and is online at www.mvschools.org/Page/2420
Match for Mill Valley
All teachers in Mill Valley are afforded the academic freedom to develop deep content lessons that are not found in a text book. These lessons are often project based and provide greater opportunities for students to think critically, research, and create solutions to problems.
The basic philosophy of the Common Core is already found within the Mill Valley School District’s instructional program.
Implementation of the Common Core will help foster additional resources to Mill Valley teachers to provide deeper and richer content instruction.
What assessment will students take this year?
We are waiting for the details to emerge, but we anticipate Grades 3-8 Mill Valley students participating in the field test for the new Smarter Balance Assessment computerized (SBAC) test.