Common Core Debuts

Betsy Fellner, Staff Writter

On Oct. 2 Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation AB 484 which eliminates the annual Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test. This year, in lieu of the STAR test, students will be required to take the “Smarter.” This spring, all juniors will take the Smarter Balance Assessment, but the scores will not be counted as a representation of the school or the district. The scores won’t even be published. It is in the following year, spring of 2015, when all juniors will take the “Smarter” and the scores will be reported. The new Common Core of standards are being put into effect, and all students across the United States will be taking the same test. This will allow easier comparison of students and schools all over the country.

There are many differences between the STAR and the “Smarter.” For one,  the STAR is taken by all students from 2nd grade to 11th, on paper, and multiple choice, whereas the Common Core is solely taken electronically. It also includes more in depth questions to represent material taught in class. Not all grades will take the Common Core every year. Only 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 11th graders will be administered the test.

“Rumor has it, the Smarter is going to be a lot harder. We have done some practice problems in my math class,” junior Hayley Reardon said.

The new Common Core standards are much different from the STAR standards, with more emphasis on a deeper understanding of the material. These questions may or may not include multiple choice and long answers. Throughout the next year, teachers will be altering their teaching styles to fit to the Common Core assessment. The new assessment will be taken electronically, meaning that this year, teachers will be introducing more technology in their room for every day assignments to familiarize students with the test type.

Other tests will remain the same, such as the Junior Early Assessment Program in English and Math and the Sophomore Life Science assessment.

The CAHSEE, taken by all sophomores, will not be affected and will remain a graduation requirement.

The AB 484 bill, recently passed, is temporary, and will only be in place for the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 school years. There will be more provisions made for future years. The Academic Performance Index, API, will most likely be suspended for the 2013-2014 school year. Miramonte tends to do very well with API scores, so the administration hopes they stay intact with this new form of testing.

Although the juniors will take a practice test at the end of this year, it won’t be actively graded until spring of 2015.