Curriculum & Instruction
Yes. California is participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) with a number of other states to prepare a common set of assessments based on the CCSS. The SBAC is developing new assessments that will be fully implemented by the 2014–15 school year, with pilot testing in 2012–13, and field testing in 2013–14. A news release describing California’s involvement with the SBAC was issued on June 9, 2011. Additional information about the consortium, including extensive FAQs, is available on the CDE SBAC Web page and at the SBAC Web site.
Guiding Strategy 3 of the Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan for California provides information regarding California’s participation in the SBAC and details specific work and benchmarks. The section “Suggestions and Opportunities for LEAs” recommends numerous ways in which districts may begin to prepare for the new, future assessments—of which perhaps the most important is to sign up for the CDE SBAC Web page listserv in order to receive the latest information.
In introducing the CCSS, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers advised that states could adopt up to an additional 15 percent while remaining true to the CCSS; California exercised this option. In addition to adopting the CCSS, the State Board of Education (SBE) adopted a number of additional standards the SBE recognized as being important for maintaining the rigor of the 1997 standards. The SBAC assessments will not include these California additions as they will be based solely on the standards shared by all adopting states.
California Education Code Section 60604.5 required the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to consult with specific stakeholder groups in developing recommendations for the reauthorization of the statewide pupil assessment system, including a plan for transitioning to a system of high-quality assessments. The law directed the SSPI to report the recommendations to the fiscal and appropriate policy committees of both houses of the Legislature. In January 2013, the SSPI fulfilled this legislative requirement. The SSPI’s recommendations report, and information regarding the process of developing the recommendations, may be found on the CDE Statewide Pupil Assessment Web page.