Common Core testing begins in local schools

Glendale and Burbank students recently began taking the new computerized exams that have replaced the pencil-and-paper standardized exams across California.

Both school districts have spent months preparing to administer the new exams that align with the state’s newly implemented curriculum known as the Common Core.

The schools will not receive scores measuring how well students do this year — which is considered a transitional period with many state and local educators seeing it as a year to “test the test.”

Burbank Unified students began taking the exams earlier this month and, so far, it “has gone very well,” said Sharon Cuseo, director of instruction and accountability for Burbank Unified.

The only glitches with the new exams have involved tests closing before students were finished, she added.

State and local educators anticipated there could be hurdles with the new computerized exams. Two weeks after testing began, state education officials reported receiving an average of 637 calls a day from educators seeking help from the state’s technical assistance team.

Aside from basic technological problems, Cuseo said Burbank students were otherwise enthralled with the new tests.

“I think they thought it was more interesting and engaging,” she said. Some of the kids — they were taken aback when they hadn’t seen [a certain kind of] problem before. Some required explanation. They weren’t as black and white as multiple choice. That was a little bit of a shock for them.”

In Glendale, students began taking the new exams this week and will continue through mid-May. Assistant Supt. Lynn Marso said the exam would sometimes automatically reset students’ passwords before they had completed the test.

In other cases, math problems would “freeze” and result in “a significant wait time” to finish the problem, Marso said.

According to state officials, the password resets and freezing were among the most-frequent issues that educators called about during the first two weeks of testing.

“Other than that, the kids in the classrooms are all fully engaged,” Marso said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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