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The STAR burns out

California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill ending the annual STAR testing on Wednesday, Oct. 2. A new test will take its place starting in 2015.

The bill creates a new system called the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, which sets new learning goals for teachers to reach based on their students’ grade levels.

A major difference in the new system is that schools will test students with an adaptive exam which is performed on a computer. When a student answers a question, the program will increase or decrease the difficulty of the test to more accurately assess the student’s understanding of a concept.

“The new standardized, computer-based test known as the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will mean fewer standardized tests for students, which is good,” said teacher John Green. “Any standardized test is a very limited measurement of student learning and we shouldn’t spend hours preparing for and taking these tests.”

Some positive things about this test is that it won’t be starting until 2015, so the state can get it completely organized and ready for state-wide testing and that this test will change according to students’ personal skill levels.

“I am glad the STAR tests have been abolished. Most teachers will tell you that the STAR test was a major waste of time that provided a very poor measurement of student learning,” said Green.

Some negative things about this is that it is a completely new and unfamiliar test that students will practically be guinea pigs for and if this test isn’t the easiest for you or you score badly on it, colleges will be looking at them with the SATs and GPAs at whether to accept you.

“I believe that teachers, parents and the community need to move away from reliance on any standardized test to determine if students are learning,” explained Green.

Evan Kwong

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