Standardized Testing

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California State Department of Education's Homepage

S.T.A.R. Program Homepage

CDE -- Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment

S.T.A.R. Press Briefing Packet

FairTest -- The National Center for Fair & Open Testing

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) is an advocacy organization working to end the abuses, misuses and flaws of standardized testing and ensure that evaluation of students and workers is fair, open, and educationally sound.

Harcourt Brace & Company's STAR Program Website


Schools Attack Weak Spots -- Districts Hire Diagnostic Experts in an Effort to Improve Performance
San Jose Mercury News, 9/7/98

Each year, public schools spend millions of dollars on new, creatively designed educational programs and curriculum packages, looking for that elusive ``magic bullet'' that will boost lagging test scores.

Testing Results Defy Glib Analysis
Oakland Tribune, 9/6/98

The good news is, this is the last story you'll have to read about test scores in Oakland -- for a while. Perhaps your first reaction on learning that Oakland's SAT scores are out is not unmitigated joy and fascination. In fact, Oakland parents could be excused if they complained of a bit of test overload over the last few months.

Scores on SAT's Expose Student Flab, Muscle -- Results shows gains in math; suburban youth outpace those in urban, rural areas
S.F. Examiner, 9/1/98

Revealing strengths and weaknesses in America's education system, SAT scores show college-bound students improving in math and making no gains in reading and writing, with scores from suburban areas significantly higher than those from urban and rural regions, according to a study released Tuesday.

Innovation Boosts Student Test Scores
Contra Costa Times, 8/31/98

Schools in disadvantaged communities see improved academic performance as a result of sometimes creative, sometimes tough programs.

Software Firm's Standardized Tests a Hit with Parents
Los Angeles Times, 8/26/98

Educators make no secret of their deep skepticism about standardized testing. But parents--especially many affluent, overachiever types--don't tend to share those doubts. They want to know, as precisely as possible, if their kids are keeping up or falling behind.

Data Foul-Ups Delay Analysis of State Tests
Los Angeles Times, 8/25/98

Major foul-ups in the handling of score sheets are hampering efforts to analyze results from the most ambitious student testing program in California history, state officials say. The worst problems affect as much as 18% of the test data statewide and could sharply limit the value of a program that cost taxpayers about $35 million and was intended to give them a public school report card.

Oakland Schools Show Big Gains In Early Grades -- But test scores fall for older kids
San Francisco Chronicle, 8/17/98

Oakland's latest test scores show that the city's youngest students improved during a year of major classroom reforms but that older students' performances slipped. The mixed results indicate that at least in Oakland, the state's emphasis on reducing class size in the crucial years from kindergarten through third grade -- when children learn to read -- is paying off. But older children in middle and high schools are not reaping the same benefits.

Money Doesn't Always Equal High Test Scores
Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/10/98

Six Inland area school districts have bucked conventional wisdom that says families with more money produce children who score better on school tests.

S.F. High School Test Scores Drop in Reading, Math Elementary, middle schools fare better
S.F. Chronicle, 7/29/98

Reading and math scores dropped among San Francisco high school students from last year -- but remained above the national average -- on a local exam that lets educators and parents monitor annual student progress.

Antioch Hopes to Remedy Test Scores
Contra Costa Times, 7/24/98

Abysmal test scores by Antioch students have the board, staff and parents searching for answers. They've also given at least one back-to-basics advocate ammunition to criticize the newer methods of instruction.

Hits and Misses for (Sacramento) Area Schools in State Test
Sacramento Bee, 7/23/98

Student achievement at schools in the four-county Sacramento metropolitan area largely reflect their students' socioeconomic status and English language abilities, judging by scores of California's first statewide achievement test in four years.

Tug-of-War Over Schools With Low Test Scores
S.F. Chronicle, 7/23/98

If California's worst-performing school districts can't raise their scores on the new achievement test, they may soon face a state takeover -- or lose students and funds to private schools under a voucher proposal being pushed by Governor Pete Wilson.

Test Scores Reveal 2-Tiered Education
S.F. Examiner, 7/22/98

Posing a staggering challenge to the state, scores on a new achievement exam show students who are fluent in English do dramatically better than their limited-English speaking peers in every subject and grade. "These results clearly indicate that what we have in the state of California is a public education system that is separate and unequal," (State Board of Education President Yvonne) Larsen said. "We have one system for those with English skills and one for those without."

Culprit for Drop in Test Scores Sought
Los Angeles Times, 7/19/98

Now educators and testing experts are struggling to identify the culprit responsible for the weak performance of ninth- and 10th-graders, who consistently scored below all other grade levels.
     Theories include inadequate teacher training, the failure of students to read and even poor physical fitness. Several school officials said they will take a close look at vocabulary instruction as a potential culprit.
     It's also possible the apparent collapse of student performance represents a fluke in the test itself, a theory that testing experts said they doubted, but could not yet disprove.
     Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement, which faces a public relations nightmare if its Stanford 9 test administered at 8,000 California schools this spring proves flawed, discovered the phenomenon last week, said Tom Brooks, manager of research for the company. Brooks said it might take a month to determine a cause.

City (Sacramento) Schools' Test Scores Reveal Woes
Sacramento Bee, 7/18/98

Sacramento City school officials went public Friday with the first campus-by-campus test scores in recent history, releasing new state data they say will help identify trouble spots in the generally low-performing district. Put simply, neighborhoods with the fewest economic and language problems tended to fare best.

Judge OKs Release of Statewide Scores But They Won't Go in Student Files
S.F. Examiner, 7/17/98

San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia, who determined that the scores are public record, said he may let school districts keep individual students' scores out of their permanent records.

State Can Post All National Test Results
Judge lifts ban on scores of non-English speakers

S.F. Chronicle, 7/17/98

State educators can release achievement test scores of more than 1 million non-English-speaking children who took the exam in English, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled yesterday. But Judge David Garcia said he may prevent schools from including the results in the children's academic records.

Controversial School Scores Could Soon Be Made Public
San Jose Mercury News, 7/16/98

A San Francisco Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling late Wednesday afternoon that may allow the state Department of Education to release test scores of more than a million students who speak little or no English as soon as Friday. The ruling, by Judge David Garcia, is not binding. But it offers insight into the probable outcome of a hearing today on whether the state should be allowed to release the test scores of students who speak little or no English.

Judge Says State Can Release Test Scores
Contra Costa Times, 7/16/98

A San Francisco Superior Court judge tentatively ruled Wednesday that the state is free to release the scores of limited-English-speaking students on California's latest standardized achievement exam. Judge David Garcia made his tentative ruling in the case before hearing oral arguments scheduled for today. Garcia could change his mind after hearing from Oakland and Berkeley school district lawyers who won a temporary restraining order June 25 to block the release of test results June 30.

Test Scores Yield Mixed Results for L.A. Students
L.A. Times, 7/14/98

The scores are the first to include all of the district's limited-English students. Consequently, the results were significantly lower than those released two weeks ago by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which showed that the district as a whole scored in the 32nd percentile. At that time, the district factored in only a selected number of students with limited English. Complete L.A. Unified Scores -- including school-by-school breakdown

Expected Result: Division Over Test Scores
Contra Costa Times, 7/12/98

Even though a San Francisco judge has stopped the state Department of Education from posting standardized test results on the Internet, there's little mystery about what those results will show: Students in poorer schools with lots of limited English speakers don't score as well, on average, as students in affluent suburbs.

Tests Reveal Disturbing Trend in State Public Education
S.F. Examiner, 7/12/98

The last two statewide achievement exams reveal a disturbing trend in California public education: The longer kids are in the system, the worse they seem to do.

Test Score Suppression Is Upheld
State Supreme Court sides with exam foes

S.F. Chronicle, 7/9/98

In a legal victory for Bay Area educators hoping to suppress achievement test scores of non-English-speaking students, the California Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling yesterday that has kept the scores secret.

Court Won't Remove Order Blocking Test Score Release
Sacramento Bee, 7/9/98

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to overturn a lower court order, making it highly unlikely the state Department of Education will release further statewide achievement test results prior to a July 16 court hearing.

Meanwhile, state testing officials said Wednesday that a technical problem with test scoring may have affected the results of as many as 15 percent of the 4.1 million students tested.

High Court Urged to Join Fray Over State Test Scores
Sacramento Bee, 7/7/98

Attorneys for the state Board of Education and the state Department of Education have asked the California Supreme Court to limit a temporary restraining order that has prevented the release of statewide test results that include scores of limited-English students.

San Francisco shifts stance on test scores
S.F. Examiner, 7/7/98

After flatly refusing to release district scores showing student performance on a new statewide achievement exam, San Francisco school officials now say the results will be made public -- eventually.

Bilingual Surprise In State Testing
Many native-English speakers outscored in S.F., San Jose
S.F. Chronicle, 7/7/98

Achievement test scores from two of the Bay Area's largest school districts reveal a surprising result: Graduates of bilingual education programs out- scored native English speakers in most subjects and in most grades.

For more information on California's bilingual controversy, click here.

Test Scores Matter, But How Much?
Many factors affect quality of schools
S.F. Chronicle, 7/6/98

If you wonder why the scores on California's new student achievement test are important, ask Walnut Creek real estate broker Micky Gill. Gill had to pull out a tape measure to prove to a worried family that the house they were about to buy was in the Acalanes High School attendance district in Lafayette -- a school they wanted because of its scores on various standardized tests.

``The test doesn't measure very much, and California parents ought to know that. It compares students to each other and not to a standard of what they ought to learn,'' said Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest in Cambridge, Mass., a watchdog of standardized testing practices across the nation. ``The best predictor of test scores is family income. Put your child in school with rich kids, and they will get a good education,'' said Neill, noting the continuing disparities in educational quality among communities.

S.F.'s "secret" scores
S.F. Examiner, 7/3/98

The scores of roughly 32,000 English-fluent students were leaked to The Examiner late Thursday evening, a day after San Francisco school officials refused to release the results of student performance on a new statewide achievement test.

S.F. schools refuse to air test scores -- District will turn raw results into reports if deemed "meaningful'
S.F. Examiner, 7/2/98

Although many other school districts across California have released results of the new Stanford Achievement exam - the first statewide test to be given to students in four years - San Francisco school officials say they feel no compunction to release scores because they don't like the test.

Dan Waters: Test Results Spark Conflict
Sacramento Bee, 7/2/98

More than anything, schools are supposed to be training students in critical analysis -- the ability to absorb, comprehend and analyze words, numbers and other data. It was, therefore, more than a bit ironic that two politicians, Gov. Pete Wilson and state schools chief Delaine Eastin, could reach two radically different conclusions about the state's new student achievement tests.

Trying to get a read on test results: Dip between grades puzzles educators
Sacramento Bee, 7/2/98

California's educators Wednesday found themselves searching for reasons why student achievement in reading dropped precipitously between the eighth and ninth grades on the first statewide test in four years. Theories ranged from the advent of "whole language" in the late 1980s to the fact that reading instruction is not stressed at the high school level, but there were no concrete answers to be had the day after the scores were released.

State kids below national average in most subjects
They don't measure up in 28 of 43 categories on test
S.F. Examiner, 7/1/98

California public school children scored below the national average in reading, math and science and lagged far behind in spelling, according to results of a controversial and highly anticipated new statewide exam released Tuesday by the Department of Education.

Superintendent Eastin: "Yes, we can do a lot better, but please give us the resources to do that."

Gov. Wilson said the "disappointing but not surprising" scores were the byproduct of years of failed attempts at reforms such as new math and whole language, coupled with weak policies on social promotion and accountability.

State's Kids Score Low in School Tests
Bilingual controversy limits release of figures

S.F. Chronicle, 7/1/98

Most of California's English- speaking students scored below the national average on the state's controversial new achievement test, according to results released yesterday.

Low Scores On Contra Costa Tests Are Examined
Highest school reports in Lafayette, San Ramon

S.F. Chronicle, 7/1/98

Students in most Contra Costa school districts performed worse than expected on California's new achievement test. Scores were predictably highest in more affluent areas such as Lafayette and San Ramon, where rankings reached into the 70th and 80th percentiles. They dipped drastically in lower income cities such as Pittsburg and in parts of Concord, where they were in the 30th and even 20th percentiles.

Student Test Scores Yield No Surprises
Contra Costa Times, 6/28/98

Even though a San Francisco judge has stopped the state Department of Education from posting standardized test results on the Internet, there's little mystery about what those results will show: Students in poorer schools with lots of limited-English speakers don't score as well, on average, as students in affluent suburbs.

S.T.A.R. (Standardized Testing & Reporting) Program, In Brief
Contra Costa Times, 6/28/98

State to Seek Court's Help on Test Scores
S.F. Chronicle, 6/27/98

State education officials plan a last-ditch plea Monday to the state Court of Appeal in a bid to publish scores next week from California's first statewide achievement test in four years.

Wilson, Eastin Testy on Exam -- Governor Blasts Legal Steps; Education Chief Calls Him "Hysterical"
S.F. Examiner, 4/13/98

State Begins Student Assessment Tests
New exam will allow head-to-head comparison of scores
S.F. Chronicle, 4/7/98


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