In response to “Educators praise new testing system” in the March 23 edition of the Daily Journal, I would like to echo support and praise for the Smarter Balance assessments. As a parent leader, I see firsthand the benefits of the Common Core State Standards and the aligned assessments, which are better preparing students in California for ongoing success.
The updated standards move away from a style of learning that was measured by multiple-choice “fill in the bubble” testing. The old multiple-choice tests weren’t always a true measurement of what kids knew, since students could correctly guess at answers. The old tests encouraged rote memorization, and were disliked by educators, as well as by parents and students.
The updated assessments evaluate a deeper understanding of the subjects and students’ ability to apply their knowledge. For example, as Nancy Magee with the County Office of Education in San Mateo highlighted, with the updated math standards, students are asked to solve a problem, and also to explain how they got their answers.
Replacing the old standards with Common Core will help better prepare students for the 21st century and ensure students are on the path to succeed in both college and careers. This updated type of learning and assessments will measure student’s success and address challenges that may arise early on. These new 21st-century assessments will help light the way.
The letter writer is the vice president, Leadership, Seventeenth District PTA (San Mateo County); Chair, School Smarts Parent Engagement Program Committee, California State PTA