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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
CDE working on options to give LEAs flexibility on assessments
January 11, 2021
Given the guidance received from the U.S. Department of Education in September that it will not approve statewide assessment waivers for the 2020–21 school year, the CDE is working to provide test administration options that will allow LEAs flexibility to meet the needs of their unique context.
In November, the State Board of Education approved the use of shorter standardized tests in English language arts and math this spring, creating a path for collecting critical student data amidst COVID-19 uncertainties.
The board’s action also recognizes the need for innovative solutions to support students, schools and districts as they confront myriad challenges associated with the pandemic.
Like other states, California is required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to assess student learning as a condition of receiving certain federal funds. The shorter assessments will reduce student testing time, which now takes from seven to eight hours in total. The tests will cover all academic standards, which describe what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. Spring testing will provide the first statewide snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on student learning.
“Because we have been supporting and encouraging districts to use formative and diagnostic assessments this fall, schools will have data to guide individual student learning. Meanwhile, a shorter summative test can provide a more manageable way to offer district and state-level information in these unpredictable times,” said state board President Linda Darling-Hammond.
In its Dec. 18 Assessment Spotlight newsletter, the CDE recommended to LEAs an in-person test administration option — while adhering to state, county, and local health and safety requirements — and a remote test administration option for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, the California Science Test, the California Spanish Assessment, and the Summative ELPAC.
In regard to the California Alternate Assessments for ELA, mathematics, and science — after a careful review of the necessary requirements for the delivery of the alternate assessments, the CDE recommends in-person test administration, following state, county, and local health and safety requirements, for the provision of these tests. Remote administration is not recommended. By design, alternate assessments are one-on-one test administrations, administered by test examiners who are familiar with the students. The alternate assessments also allow for individualized testing experiences through the use of manipulatives and provide a wide range of specialized accessibility resources that are available on the basis of individual student need. In addition, parents or guardians should not be asked to administer the assessment. As for the Alternate ELPAC, the CDE is postponing the operational field test to the 2021–22 school year.
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