New test brings a ‘smarter balance’

Ray Reyes

Chronicle Copy Editor

The California Standardized Test, which had previously been used to gauge students’ understanding of curriculum, has been replaced with a new test based on the Common Core Standards, called Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. These new standards have been adopted by 46 states, and are designed to challenge student understanding of material and promote deeper thinking.

“It’s more challenging for the students. It involves more than just regurgitating of facts, and more critical thinking,” said English teacher Judith Bridges.

Teachers feel the implementation of the new standards is sudden, but potentially beneficial. In a 2012 survey conducted by Michigan State University, 90% of math teachers questioned say that they like the idea of the new standards.

“It’s not bad per se, it’s just a radical shift,” said math teacher Abdoulaye Bah. “I think it could be a good thing if it’s implemented well.”

The new tests will be done on a computer, the student fills in the answer, and what happens next is different from the traditional way of testing.

“You could get a harder question or an easier depending upon how well you answered it. It adapts to your answer and pushes you,” said LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy.

The former California State Standards have been shown to be ineffective, the Common Core standards intend to alleviate this.

“In the past, what we found was that kids were graduating, but in college, they were taking remedial courses,” said Math Teacher Geoffrey Buck.

The pilot runs for the Smarter Balanced Assessment have been shown so far to be achieving their goal.
“Students can demonstrate college and career readiness in mathematics,” according to the Claims for the Mathematics Summative Assessment approved by the Smarter Balanced Governing States.


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