California denied bid to pilot new science tests in place of current tests
The U.S. Department of Education has rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998.
In a Sept. 30 letter to state education leaders, a senior official in the U.S. Department of Education said California has not demonstrated that piloting the new tests would advance student achievement or do a better job reporting on school performance.
Earlier this year, California submitted a request for a federal waiver from administering the current tests in science and instead wanted permission to administer a pilot version of a new test aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, with a longer field test the following year.
“The state has not demonstrated that the requested waiver would advance student achievement or maintain or improve transparency in reporting to parents and the public on student achievement and school performance, including the achievement of subgroups of students,” Ann Whalen, senior advisor to U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., wrote in the letter to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Michael Kirst, the president of the State Board of Education.
The department has given the state 60 days to resubmit its waiver request if it meets certain conditions outlined in the letter.
“We will be reviewing the letter and we will respond to the Education Department with more information to support our request,” said Keric Ashley, a California Department of Education deputy superintendent.
The denial of the waiver request could mean that the state will end up giving students two tests in the spring — the older California Standard Test in science, and the new pilot aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. The state would fully implement the new testsCalifornia denied bid to pilot new science tests in place of current tests | EdSource: