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Sophomore and junior testing on Monday

Published April 13, 2014

Palo Alto High School sophomores and juniors will take the annual science section of the California Standardized Test and the new Smarter Balanced Test starting at 8:15 a.m. Monday.

According to Dean of Students Craig Tuana, the scores from the Smarter Balanced Test will not count since it is a new online standardized test that the California Department of Education is field testing this year. The results from this year, however, will be examined to make any changes to the scored test that will be administered next year.

The purpose of the Smarter Balance Test is to test students’  college preparedness, according to Tuana. The Smarter Balance Test is replacing the Early Assessment Program that has been taken annually by juniors in the past. Additionally, Paly has recently changed its common core standards, so this new test will be meeting those new requirements.

Even though the Smarter Balance Test is not a scored test, this trial will give vulnerable feedback to both Paly and the Department of Education on whether or not online tests of this scale are effective to give at the same time. It will give feedback to teachers as it will reveal if students have learned the material on the test or not, according to Tuana.

“[The staff] wants to see if we can handle [the test] and if not, we want to learn from this one to make sure that we can handle it for the test next year,” Tuana said.

The Smarter Balance Test was supposed to have originally been administered to juniors on March 18 and 19, while the sophomores were taking the California High School Exit Examination, but due to the fact that the test was not ready then, the Department of Education decided to postpone its release date.

The Smarter Balance Test will be taken on a computer, and it will have a different format than the  Standardized Testing and Reporting test administered in previous years.  The test will consist of multiple choice questions, fill-in-the blank questions and even questions which involve drawing on the computer.

“[The test will] benefit students who are taking it,” Tuana said. “I think this is a wave of future testing that they could possibly experience [this type of testing] in college.”

Sophomores, on the other hand will be taking the CST. The CST is not a new test. It is a general science test for sophomores, which contains two parts and will end at 10:20 a.m., according to Tuana.

The school expects that students will come for both exams like any other standardized test, according to Dean of Students, Craig Tuana.

“[The school] really expects the students to come,” Tuana said. “We are just asking for two hours of [the students'] time for the tests and to test our system.”

While sophomores and juniors will have to attend school Monday, freshmen and seniors will have the day off.

Here is more information about the Smarter Balance Test and the CST.


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