Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Hart High Drops Plan to Grade Portions of State Assessment Test


One of two Santa Clarita Valley schools planning to grade students on portions of the controversial California Learning Assessment System test reversed its decision Thursday after concerns were raised by parents.

Teachers at William S. Hart High School had planned to grade 10th-graders on essay and reading comprehension sections of the CLAS test, which students began taking this week. But Principal Laurence Strauss said the recent controversy about the test made school officials change their minds.

"We're doing that because of the concern and confusion that is associated with the test," he said. "We don't want to add any confusion to the issue."

Teachers at Hart and Castaic Middle School, which still plans to grade eighth-grade students on an essay portion of the test, said they believe that students deserve immediate feedback and school credit for taking the five-day test.

Officials with CLAS and the State Board of Education said issuing a grade on the essay portion of the test is acceptable, but it is uncertain if the reading comprehension section can be graded.

Strauss said he has received an unspecified number of calls from concerned parents since the school's intention to grade students was made public this week, but he said most of the concerns are due to "lack of understanding of the contents on the test."

Critics say the CLAS test contains questions that challenge authority and traditional family values. The test is administered to fourth-, fifth-, eighth- and 10th-grade students.

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