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California Assessment of Academic Achievement; Legislative Intent   

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(a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to provide a system of individual assessment of pupils that has the primary purpose of assisting teachers, administrators, and pupils and their parents to improve teaching and learning. In order to accomplish these goals, the Legislature finds and declares that California should adopt a coordinated and consolidated testing program to do all of the following:

(1) First and foremost, provide information on the academic status and progress of individual pupils to those pupils, their parents, and their teachers. This information should be designed to assist in the improvement of teaching and learning in California public classrooms. The Legislature recognizes that, in addition to statewide assessments that will occur as specified in this chapter, school districts will conduct additional ongoing pupil diagnostic assessment and provide information regarding pupil performance based on those assessments on a regular basis to parents or guardians and schools. The Legislature further recognizes that local diagnostic assessment is a primary mechanism through which academic strengths and weaknesses are identified.

(2) Develop and adopt a set of statewide academically rigorous content standards and performance standards in all major subject areas to serve as the basis for assessing the academic achievement of individual pupils, as well as for schools, school districts, and for the California education system as a whole. The performance standards shall be designed to lead to specific grade level benchmarks of academic achievement for each subject area tested within each grade level, and shall be based on the knowledge and skills that pupils will need in order to succeed in the information-based, global economy of the 21st century.

(3) Ensure that all assessment procedures, items, instruments, and scoring systems are independently reviewed to ensure that they meet high standards of statistical reliability and validity, and that they do not use procedures, items, instruments, or scoring practices that are racially, culturally, or gender biased.

(4) Provide information to pupils, parents or guardians, teachers, schools, and school districts on a timely basis so that the information can be used to further the development of the pupil and to improve the educational program.

(5) Develop assessments that are comparable to the National Assessment of Educational Progress and other national and international assessment efforts, so that California?s local and state test results are reported in a manner that corresponds to the national test results. Test results should be reported in terms describing a pupil?s academic performance in relation to the statewide academically rigorous content and performance standards adopted by the state board and in terms of employment skills possessed by the pupil, in addition to being reported as numerical or percentile scores.

(6) Assess pupils for a broad range of academic skills and knowledge including both basic academic skills and the ability of pupils to apply those skills.

(7) Include an appropriate balance of types of assessment instruments, including, but not limited to, multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and assessments of applied academic skills.

(8) Minimize the amount of instructional time devoted to assessments administered pursuant to this chapter.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature, pursuant to this article, to begin a planning and implementation process to enable the Superintendent to accomplish the goals set forth in this section as soon as feasible.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that parents, classroom teachers, other educators, governing board members of school districts, and the public be involved, in an active and ongoing basis, in the design and implementation of the statewide pupil assessment program and the development of assessment instruments.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature, insofar as is practically feasible and following the completion of annual testing, that the content, test structure, and test items in the assessments that are part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program become open and transparent to teachers, parents, and pupils, to assist all the stakeholders in working together to demonstrate improvement in pupil academic achievement. A planned change in annual test content, format, or design should be made available to educators and the public well before the beginning of the school year in which the change will be implemented.

(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the results of the California Standards Tests be available for use, after appropriate validation, academic credit, or placement and admissions processes, or both, at postsecondary educational institutions.

(f) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2014, and, as of January 1, 2015, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2015, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 489, Sec. 3.)