Last month (CELR, p. 23) we reported that mandatory standardized testing throughout the State of California was now a reality. The Governor signed legislation (S.B. 376, Alpert) that requires all students in grades 2 through 11 to be tested in basic math, reading and writing skills. The first statewide testing is scheduled to be administered by May 15, 1998 and any makeup tests by May 25. The results of the achievement tests shall be returned to school districts no later than June 30, 1998. This is the first time in four years that California public schools will have mandatory achievement testing on a statewide basis.
The State Board of Education selected the Stanford Achievement Test Nine at its November meeting. California students have never taken the version of the Stanford test that will be given in the spring. The State Board also adopted California's first performance standards for English and language arts. These are rigorous standards that stress phonics and spelling in the lower grades. The State Board is expected to approve math standards at a later meeting.