Proposal could bring testing changes for 11th graders

February 13, 2018 Staff Writer

A bill has been proposed in the Legislature that would give districts the option to replace the SBAC test in the 11th grade with alternative assessments, such as the SAT or ACT, given during the school day, at no cost to students.

Assembly Bill 1951, O’Donnell, would require the superintendent of public instruction to approve a nationally recognized high school test – such as the SAT or ACT – that districts can opt to administer to 11th grade students in place of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The test options would be required to be rigorous and aligned to the state academic standards.

“AB 1951 provides school districts the option of giving 11th grade students a college entrance exam during the school day instead of the state-required assessment.  This will remove obstacles for many students to attend college,” Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell said. “As a teacher for more than 20 years and as chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I know this will reduce testing time and provide teachers and students more time to bridge the gap in learning.”

At a press conference announcing the bill, O’Donnell was joined by several superintendents from large districts: Jorge Aguilar of Sacramento City USD, Christopher Steinhauser of Long Beach USD and Nancy Albarrán of San Jose USD. ACSA has announced support for the bill.

“Our schools need relief from duplicative testing,” Steinhauser said. “The SAT is more meaningful and relevant to students and parents because it’s the main test affecting college admission nationally. The PSAT and SAT also allow our students to take advantage of free, customized support including online tutorials through Khan Academy.”

In a press release, O’Donnell noted that the Pathways to College Act (AB 1951) addresses the college diploma gap and works to open doors to higher education for parents and students by offering college admissions tests like the SAT or ACT.

This bill also gives local school districts more control over how students are tested in grade 11 by allowing districts to choose the test that provides the most benefits to their students. The Pathways to College Act provides opportunities to offer free, personalized test practice and other resources to students of all means, no matter where they are from or how much their parents make.

ACSA will keep members apprised as developments occur.

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