California STAR testing system set to expire July 2014, new education standards and testing expected

STAR testing program set to expire July 2014

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - California is getting what some can call an education overhaul.

New state education standards will take place in the 2014-2015 school year.

It will focus less on skills and concepts and more on in-depth information.

"The new standards are less about memorization and more about critical thinking skills," said Bakersfield City School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Arias.

Since the current state asseessment system known as the STAR program ends the summer before that, the state will need a new standardized testing system.

Last week state superintendent Tom Torlakson proposed replacing pencil and paper standardized tests with a computer based system.

The tests would be more about critical thinking than multiple choice, something the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association is excited about.

"I think critical thinking testing is always better because you truly know where the kids are at than them bubbling in a test. So something to really see if the kids have grasped what they have learned is a good thing," said BETA president Michelle Johnson.

But BCSD is apprehensive.

It's concerned about state funding to implement the electronic testing system.

"There's a huge layer of technology thats going to be a real challenge for many school districts," said Arias.

Another concern is the cost of training staff to use the new technology and providing fair and daily student access to that technology.  

"So we're measuring student academic performance vs access to technology," said Arias.

Ultimately the main idea is focusing less on multiple choice testing and more on critical thinking.

"I think its a win-win fore everyone," said Johnson.

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