But under federal law, the state must continue to administer the old science test until the new one is up and running.
State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson asked the Obama administration to let California out of this double-testing requirement, arguing that it wastes students' time and the state's money. The administration said no, more than once. That's because the new test's scores won't be counted at first and the federal government wouldn't accept years without valid science test scores.
Now the state is making the request again, to the new administration.
Late last week, Torlakson and State Board of Education President Mike Kirst sent U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos a letter asking to be released from the testing requirements.
"Allowing California schools to avoid the administration of double science testing will provide students with the opportunity to become familiar with the new computer-based assessment in science with no undue concerns about immediate academic consequence," they wrote.
The state also maintains that cutting the old tests will help reduce students’ stress levels.
Those old science tests are based on standards that were adopted in 1998.
California signed on to the new science standard initiative in 2013. The new goals for each grade strive to make the learning of science more coherent and evidence-based. Under the new framework, students are supposed to spend more time teaching each other — and less time passively listening to lectures.