California's STAR tests, the state's standardized tests for public school students, are being scrapped after 16 years.
A new slate of tests are slated to be fully implemented in the spring of 2015. The new tests, administered on computers, allow for more than multiple-choice bubbles. They include boxes where students will write out answers for reading comprehension and math problems in full sentences and paragraphs. The point is to measure critical thinking and writing skills.
“This marks another step forward in the effort to help schools prepare to replace outdated assessments with tests that gauge the kind of critical thinking and deeper learning that comes with a world-class education,” state schools chief Tom Torlakson said in a written statement.
State officials on Wednesday unveiled a sneak peek of practice problems online. The problems are sample math and English questions for the 3rd through 11th grades.
“These practice tests give teachers, students, and parents a glimpse into understanding the skills and abilities our children will need to do well on test day and in preparation for college and career," Torlakson said.
In about two years, 19 million students across the country will be tested mostly on computers. The change is part of a nationwide transition to new learning standards called the Common Core.
The transition to the new tests has been rocky in several other states — but California officials said they have received assurances pilot tests will be ready to roll out a year from now.