Brown Signs AB484

On October 2, the transformation of education moved forward as California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 484.  This law immediately suspends the old standardized STAR test required for most public K-12 students, replacing it with a Common Core-compliant test called Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, or MAPP.  This new computer-based test, which will be administered by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, will be field tested during the current 2013-2014 school year and the year following, and will expand to widespread use in the years following.

Since the new MAPP test is taken on a computer, schools will need to expand their inventory and access to technological resources in order to accommodate their students, as well as provide the necessary support required to maintain the computers and other technology.  This is an expensive proposition, and many California schools are not immediately prepared to meet this new requirement.  To assist the districts in their effort to get up to speed technologically, the state will allow districts to give paper-and-pencil exams for at least the next couple of years while new purchases are made.

While AB 484 enjoyed broad support by many, a number of groups had urged Brown to veto the bill on the grounds that it would leave school districts with a year of missing test data, which is often used to gauge the effectiveness of teachers, administrators, and schools.  State officials are confident that California will receive whatever federal waiver might be necessary to temporarily suspend the federally-mandated testing, since the U.S. DOE has stated that it is willing to work with states that want to avoid double testing as they transition to Common Core.

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