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CA considering Cortines request to delay use of computer tests

Vanessa Romo | December 16, 2014

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LAUSD Superintedent Ray Cortines

LAUSD Superintedent Ramon Cortines

Responding to a barrage of requests from district superintendents around the state, including a recent appeal from LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines, state education officials will consider a delay in using the results of the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced computerized test as means of measuring academic growth next year.

“This will be a public discussion beginning with the next scheduled State Board meeting in January,” Keric Ashley, a deputy to Tom Torlakson, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a written statement.

He added, “Regardless of this public discussion of the API, schools and parents will receive scores and the Superintendent strongly urges all schools to continue their preparation for the computer-adaptive assessments coming in the spring.”

The outcomes of this year’s reading and math tests are supposed to be used to establish a base in calculating Academic Performance Index (API) scores in 2015-16. But, at a meeting with the California Department of Education in November, leaders from several statewide educational organizations suggested a year-long postponement. They argued that many districts need more time to implement the state’s new Common Core curriculum while others do not posses the technological infrastructure to carry out the exam.

In a letter to Torlakson last week, Cortines joined a growing group of local superintendents’ seeking permission to ignore the test results for “high stakes accountability purposes.”

“We do not feel that our students have had adequate time practicing on the testing devices,” Cortines explained.

As a result, he added, “I would like to ask that any data or scores derived from [testing] not have a negative impact on state and/or federal funds that are allocated for the students in LAUSD.”

The Smarter Balanced tests have replaced California’s statewide exams as the state is transitioning to the Common Core State Standards. All students in third through eighth grade and high school juniors are required to take the exam. In all, nearly 350,000 LA Unified students will take the test in April.

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