New student testing should be more effective
The new statewide testing system proposed this week is a step in the right direction in that it appears the new tests will measure a student’s ability to think, rather than remember answers.
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled the new testing system on Tuesday.
Encouraging to us is the new system requires students to use critical-thinking skills and will use more essay answers than multiple choice. We agree with Mr. Torlakson that the new system moves “forward with assessment that measure the real-world skills our students need to be ready for a career and for college.”
Many have complained for years that the current system of testing relies far too much on a student’s ability to recall answers and that teachers were teaching for the test, but not for the future of the students.
We have also heard for far too long from employers that students coming out of high school cannot think for themselves and are not prepared for the real world. We hope the new testing, and preparation for the tests, gives students a greater ability to think for themselves. If it does accomplish that, then those students will be better prepared for the world that lies ahead of them, be that college or a job.
Another plus is that some of the tests required now may be combined, giving teachers more time to teach, rather than prepare students for a test.
The test should also give educators a better idea of where a student stands and where a greater effort is needed. Local officials are also pleased that results will be known much quicker. Results for the current tests take months.
Obviously, there are still many details to be worked out. It appears the new test will be done on computers. How students will have access to computers to be able to take the test in a quick manner is uncertain. Part of what the porterville Unified’s $90 million bond measure was to pay for was computers for all students. How that expense will be covered now is unknown.