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What Parents Should Know About California's New Tests
Today, the California Department of Education released the first set of results from tests aligned to our new state standards in English language arts and math. Parents soon will get to see their children's individual scores as well. What do these tests mean? And do these standards and tests help ensure our kids are getting a 21st-century education that will prepare them for the career and college challenges ahead?
We think the standards upon which the tests are based ask much more of students than the multiple-choice exams they used to take. The tests force students to problem-solve, think critically, and write analytically -- skills that take time and effort to master but are essential for competing in our global economy.
California has raised the bar, and many education leaders already are warning parents not to panic when they hear that new scores are lower than those on the previous tests.
It's exciting that we're raising the bar for our kids -- and we should look at this year as a starting point. Parents, teachers, and schools should think of this year's results as a baseline and focus on helping each student make as much progress as possible -- next year and beyond.
Thankfully there are resources available for parents who want to learn more about the new California tests. Some of these include:
• California Department of Education FAQs about the new testing system
• GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents, a free online tool to help parents understand the test score report
Common Sense has a wealth of information about applications and lesson flows aligned with California's new standards. For example, click here to learn more about what's available for teachers at Common Sense Graphite.