Superintendent's Monthly Message
 April 2014


The day our students return from Spring Break, we will begin administering the new state assessment for grades 3 – 8 in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This assessment, known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) was developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and it is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. Unlike the previous STAR assessment which was a paper and pencil test, the CAASPP will be entirely computer based representing a whole new era in student assessments. Although all students will be required to take the test, this year is actually a field test for the test itself; a test of the test. The purpose of the state wide field test is to gauge the accuracy and fairness of the questions and to serve as a barometer of the technological capabilities of both the schools and the students as well as the technology readiness of the testing system.

The field test will consist of both a performance task component and a computer based assessment component. The English Language Arts performance task will require students to read multiple articles and write one or more essays using evidence from the readings. In mathematics, the performance based task will measure students’ ability to integrate knowledge across multiple standards and solve complex real-world problems. Both of these tasks will be scored at the state level by a combination of machine and human scoring, although no individual student or school scores will be reported.

Transitioning from a paper and pencil assessment environment to a computerized assessment will prove to be challenging for all schools in California. Computerized and online assessments require students to have certain digital skills such as keyboarding, using a mouse, highlighting text, dragging and dropping text, drawing lines, using scroll bars and creating graphs, to name a few. Because we want these online assessments to capture our students’ levels of learning rather than their ability to navigate technology, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to ensure their readiness for success.  

As you know, the Board of Education has voted to place a $125 million school bond, Measure J, on the June 2014 ballot. In addition to completing much needed basic repairs in our schools, the bond will provide the funds necessary to ensure that our classrooms have the tools required to support digital literacy and state-of-the-art teaching and learning. If approved by the voters, Measure J would cost property owners approximately $30 per $100,000 of assessed value for as long as the bonds are outstanding. Our teachers have taken a lead in preparing our students for the rigorous academic learning goals required by the new state standards; we need to make sure that we provide our students with the resources and the learning opportunities needed to demonstrate their knowledge and meet the challenges ahead in a rapidly changing world.


Dr. Jacqueline M. Horejs