Santa Clarita Valley students are getting a taste of what California’s new Common Core school curriculum will be like via standardized testing, which began recently at two school districts.
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“We are in the process right now,” said Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the William S. Hart Union High School District. “Our technology infrastructure is handling the testing really well, which is something that we’ve been working very hard on.”
The district spent the last three years preparing for the technological upgrades necessary, such as improving Internet bandwidth and its WiFi, she said.
One of the biggest changes students are likely to notice right off the bat with the new tests is the elimination of the need for a No. 2 pencil and Scantron testing forms.
The tests are all computer-based, and districts are using a variety of formats for the students, Pinsker said, including desktop computers, laptops and digital tablets. The districtwide ratio of students to digital devices is 2-to-1 at the junior high level and about 3-to-1 at the high school level, officials said.
The Hart district oversees more than 22,000 students at the junior high and high school level.
The testing results are not for public dissemination, according to state officials. They won’t be shared with parents or students, but they are being used for data-gathering purposes, said Pam Slater of the communications division in the state superintendent’s office.
To that end, Hart district officials are using the different testing platforms, i.e. computers, tablets, etc., to gauge student feedback. Per state requirements, the tests are only being offered this year to seventh-, eighth- and 11th-graders in the Hart district.
The Castaic Union School District began its testing window during the same period as the Hart district, which is from March 25 to April 25. Castaic Union is an elementary and middle school district which includes a middle school, third- to eighth-grade students will be tested.
Officials with Castaic Union, which has more than 2,200 students, did not immediately return calls seeking comment for this story.
There are four windows being offered for school districts across the state to take advantage of the Smarter Balanced Field Tests. The first one started March 25. The next one will go from April 7 to May 16, which is when Newhall, Saugus Union and Sulphur Springs will test students. The Acton Agua Dulce Union School District is set to test in April, also.
Click here for more information on Common Core Standards Initiative, which was adopted by California in August 2010. Since its formulation, 45 states have adopted the curriculum.
State officials say they’ve been encouraged by the results, so far. More than 203,000 students have started the tests, and the state’s Technical Assistance Center has fielded about 524 calls per day from various districts.
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Source: Santa Clarita News