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Galt elementary school district trying new assessments that may replace STAR exams

New tests focus on students' academic progress, talents

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Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:00 am

Galt Joint Union Elementary School District students are in the midst of new online assessments that could become the norm in districts across California. The assessments are being funded by federal Race to the Top grants.

Superintendent Karen Schauer will discuss the process in a report to the school board at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

The new assessments, which will continue through Oct. 4, determine academic or talent strengths, according to Schauer.

Results will be shared with parents during conferences in November.

One of the tests, formally known as “Measures of Academic Progress,” will determine a child’s level of learning for mastery of the Common Core Standards for language arts and mathematics. It is being administered to all grades.

Fourththrough eighth-graders are taking a second test.

The “Strengths-Explorer Talent Assessment” will help students discover and develop their unique talents. By knowing this, parents and teachers can not only help develop those talents but personalize learning for greater engagement and success in school, according to the district.

Earlier this month, Schauer and Robert Nacario, the district’s director of educational services, presented a report to the state Board of Education regarding waiving STAR testing and instead supporting field testing of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, as the new assessments are called.

The same day, an Assembly bill was passed that would suspend STAR testing in math and English-language arts as the state moves toward Common Core Standards implementation. The bill is now on the governor’s desk.

Also on Wednesday, the school board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2013-14 classified union contract and, in separate action, ratify the agreement.

The school board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Galt City Council chambers at City Hall, 380 Civic Drive, Galt.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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