California Governor Stands By Common Core Test Switch


EdSource Today (9/18, Fensterwald) reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown “defended” his state’s legislation suspending implementation of Common Core assessment field tests by a year and abandoning the STAR assessment, and “gave no sign of steering away from a collision with the federal government over this issue.” The piece quotes Brown saying, “I feel that a test based on a different curriculum does not make a lot of sense. We are investing $1 billion to adopt Common Core.” Noting that the legislation conflicts with NCLB testing requirements, the article notes that the field tests won’t generate test scores for NCLB accountability. Education Secretary Arne Duncan “has acknowledged the usefulness of the field test,” but only wants to exempt 20% of the state’s students from test scores. The article quotes Duncan saying, “We want to be flexible, we want to be thoughtful. We don’t want to be stuck. There are lots of different things happening across the country. I don’t want to be too hard and fast on any one of these things because I have not gone through every detail, every permutation.”

        ED Double Testing Guidance Leaves California Plan In Doubt. Catherine Gewertz writes at the Education Week (9/18, Gewertz) “Curriculum Matters” blog that in a letter released Tuesday, ED Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle “offered states the chance to suspend their current tests this spring, as long as they administer field tests” designed by the Common Core Standards assessment consortia. States would not have to report student scores, Education Week reports, noting that the letter “is intended to help states facing potential ‘double testing’” later this school year as they transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments. The piece explains that the guidance clarifies the flexibility offered by Education Secretary Arne Duncan in June, and quotes an ED official saying that it “allows states to give either the field test or the current state test to an individual student.” The article adds that California education officials have concluded that their plan does not meet these standards.

        Southern California Public Radio (9/17, Guzman-Lopez) reports in its “Education” blog that ED “on Tuesday indicated it would ease up on standardized test reporting requirements for states that transition to new computerized tests this spring,” but notes that this “only solves half of California’s problem” because the bill only mandates that districts test for English or math during the field tests, and “not both.” The piece quotes the ED letter saying, “The Department is offering flexibility related to reporting results of the field test as well as flexibility related to accountability determinations precisely because we understand and expect that the field test would not yield a valid or reliable score for students.”