STAR Testing Suspended

California's longtime STAR testing program will be suspended immediately, thanks to a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assembly Bill 484 calls for the immediate suspension of STAR testing. California's Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR) was introduced in 1998 for students in grades 2 through 11. The tests were given each spring.

“This is one of the most important and revolutionary changes to education policy, and California is the right state to lead the way," the bill's author, Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), said. "With this new law, our schools can move away from outdated STAR tests and prepare students and teachers for better assessments that reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and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."

The STAR tests will be replaced by the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP) starting with the 2014-2015 school year. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will be tested in English/language arts and math. Students in grades 5, 8 and 10 will be tested in science.

This spring, Pleasanton will help pilot the MAPP program through Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The new online tests are better aligned with the new Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by 47 states. The standards are currently being phased in and will be fully implemented next school year.

It is not yet clear if all students will be part of the spring 2014 pilot test program. That will be determined by leaders at the California Department of Education.

“California now has the chance to allow more students and schools to get a chance to test drive these new, computer-based assessments, and we need to take advantage of that opportunity,” Michael Kirst, state education board president, said.

The Smarter Balanced tests go beyond multiple-choice questions to include short and extended responses and performance tasks that allow students to complete an in-depth project that demonstrates analytical skills and real-world problem solving.

"Our current testing system is limited, measuring only rote memorization of facts, but the new assessments will actually measure how students apply knowledge and solve complex problems,” said David Rattray of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "As co-sponsors of this bill, we know that this is what the business community needs in order to have a trained and skilled workforce that will allow us to compete in a global market.”

Please click here for more info about Smarter Balanced, including a link to online practice exams.

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
Quotes from Assemblywoman Bonilla's press release