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STATE'S STUDENTS FACE CHALLENGES IN NEW STANDARDIZED TEST SERIES.



Byline: Mary Schubert Daily News Staff Writer

On Tuesday, local high school and junior high students will begin taking the same standardized test A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent" [1]  that will be administered to 4 million students in public schools all across California.

Gov. Pete Wilson For others named Pete Wilson, see .
Peter Barton Wilson (born August 23, 1933) is an American Republican politician from California. Wilson served as the thirty-sixth Governor of California (1991–1999), the culmination of more than three decades in the public arena that
 and the state Legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.

The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
 clashed last year over the use of one test to measure how well California's students - with their diverse array of ethnicities, socioeconomic classes and languages spoken - are learning the public school curriculum.

Wilson threatened to veto portions of California's $68 billion budget unless the Legislature agreed upon Adj. 1. agreed upon - constituted or contracted by stipulation or agreement; "stipulatory obligations"
stipulatory

noncontroversial, uncontroversial - not likely to arouse controversy
 one test that all public schoolchildren schoolchildren school nplécoliers mpl;
(at secondary school) → collégiens mpl; lycéens mpl

schoolchildren school
 would take so that academic progress could be compared from one district to the next.

Finally, the state Board of Education voted in November to adopt the use of the Stanford Achievement Test Series The Stanford Achievement Test Series, usually referred to simply as the "SAT 9" or "SAT 10" (where the number reflects the series being used), is one of the leading standardized achievement tests utilized by school districts in the United States for assessing children , Ninth Edition, published by Texas-based Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement.

Students in grades two through 11 will take exams specific to individual grade levels.

Of the 14,000 students in the William S. Hart Union High School District, seniors will be the only ones who won't take the Stanford 9, as the test is called. The standardized exams will be administered to the seventh- through 11th-graders over several school days until May 12, said Gary Wexler, the district's director of curriculum and assessment.

Hart district Superintendent District Superintendent may be:
  • District Superintendent (United Methodist Church)
  • A rank in the London Metropolitan Police in use from 1869 to 1886, when it was renamed Chief Constable
 Bob Lee said that while he hasn't seen the Stanford 9, he has heard about its content. ``The test is by far more difficult than any (standardized) test the state has ever had,'' he said.

Hart students tend to fare well on standardized tests though. ``They've always done above the national average,'' Wexler said.

If local youths struggle with the questions, other students across California likely will have the same difficulties and the scores probably will reflect that, Lee added.

In previous years, the Years, The

the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]

See : Time
 Hart district has tested its students only in eighth and 10th grades, Wexler said. Last year, those eighth-graders scored in the 59th percentile in reading, the 60th percentile in written expression and the 78th percentile in mathematics, he said.

Last year's 10th-graders fared just as well. They scored in the 63rd percentile in reading, the 62nd percentile in written expression and the 73rd percentile in mathematics, Wexler said.

The main challenge Hart students will face is that the Stanford 9 tests - a separate multiple-choice exam for each grade level - don't perfectly match the California curriculum in general and the Hart district curriculum in particular, Wexler said.

``For example, in our district, we don't have all students taking a ninth-grade social studies class. Almost all our students take modern world history as 10th-graders,'' Wexler explained.

Yet the ninth-grade test will include questions on subjects - such as Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries - those students haven't studied, he said.

In the Stanford 9 exam, Hart district seventh- and eighth-graders will be tested on reading vocabulary, reading comprehension Reading comprehension can be defined as the level of understanding of a passage or text. For normal reading rates (around 200-220 words per minute) an acceptable level of comprehension is above 75%. , spelling, language arts language arts
pl.n.
The subjects, including reading, spelling, and composition, aimed at developing reading and writing skills, usually taught in elementary and secondary school.
, mathematics problem solving problem solving

Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error.
 and mathematics procedures, Wexler said.

Hart district high schoolers will be tested on those subjects as well as science and social studies, Wexler said.

The Stanford 9 ``will take about five hours to administer,'' Wexler said.

Results for schools statewide, for each grade level, will be made public by June 30, including on the Internet.

For the past decade, the Hart district had used the Individual Test of Academic Skills, published by Mission Viejo-based School Research and Services. The questions on that standardized exam were specific to California's curriculum, Wexler said.

The Hart district's incoming seventh-graders for years had been given the Iowa Test of Basic Skills The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) are a set of standardized tests given annually to school students in the United States. These tests are given to students beginning in kindergarten and progressing until Grade 8 to assess educational development. , another widely-used standardized test, he said.

Wexler said the content of the tests are closely guarded to maintain the integrity of the results. But a hint to the difficulty can be seen in the number of questions to be answered and the time allotted al·lot  
tr.v. al·lot·ted, al·lot·ting, al·lots
1. To parcel out; distribute or apportion: allotting land to homesteaders; allot blame.

2.
 to do so, he said.

For example, the ninth-grade test has 40 science questions and 40 social studies questions. Students are given only 20 minutes to complete each section, meaning they have to work at a pace of 30 seconds for each science question and 30 seconds for each social studies question, Wexler said.

Each grade level, from seventh to 11th, has roughly 250 questions for all the subjects on their Stanford 9 test, he added.

Sean Walsh, the governor's deputy chief of staff, said that Wilson has been fighting to have one test for all California schoolchildren since he took office in 1990.

``If one area is doing abysmally poor, and one area is doing well, then we should find out what they're doing right,'' Walsh said. ``Quite frankly, we hope that this gets some parents upset,'' he said.

``If one school district is doing a great job, why? Right now, we have no way of understanding that,'' Walsh said. ``You have to identify the patient's illnesses before you can treat them.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO (Color in SAC Edition only) Paul Priesz, principal of Valencia High School Valencia High School may refer to:
  • Valencia High School (Placentia, California), a public high school in Placentia, California.
  • Valencia High School (Santa Clarita, California), a public high school in Santa Clarita, California.
, displays faculty instructions for the Stanford test series.

John Lazar/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1998 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 27, 1998
Words:837
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