In the media lab of an elementary school in Sacramento, fourth grader Aanyah Jacobs answers questions that pop up on a computer screen one at a time. She’s one of the more than three million California public school students testing out the state’s new assessment.
“I like it. It’s better than the other test where you just bubble it in," Jacobs says. "And it helps us to learn how to also work the computer.”
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson says this is the largest field test of its kind in the country. Between now and June all students in grades three through eight and some high schoolers will take practice tests. Torlakson says surveys and focus groups will then be conducted to see how the assessment worked. He says making sure schools’ technology is up-to-date is critical.
“I’m hopeful the state of California will provide some more money for more computer capacity," he says. "As we go forward we’ll understand, from the field test of today and the next few weeks, we’ll understand where there are shortcomings and how to address them and we’ll start investing in closing the gaps.”
The non-timed assessment will test kids on math, writing and comprehension. The format may be different from the traditional pencil and paper tests students are used to. But fourth grader Aanyah isn’t worried.
“I’m very confident in me that I’m going to succeed and pass the test.”
California schools will begin teaching to Common Core standards next school year.
Superintendent Jorge Aguilar called the vaccine requirement “a path forward to keeping our schools open.” The mandate takes effect Nov. 30, seven months before the state requirement begins.
The state superintendent, other officials look at challenges, solutions to creating equity for all students and families.
Roughly 1,600 students at Sacramento City Unified schools have chosen to continue learning at home through the pandemic. But most of the kids remain without teacher assignments, and parents say the district has left many questions unanswered.
California will require that all teachers and school staff be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, becoming the first state to impose such measures ahead of the new school year.
A Sacramento City school teacher was recorded using racial slurs in the classroom. But one question from organizers still lingers: In a district that has mandatory anti-bias training for teachers, how could this incident happen?
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