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Good Schools for All

A podcast about education. In each episode, hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn (Education Synergy Alliance) cut through the jargon and debate to explain education in the 21st century. Lewis and Kohn highlight successes, failures and solutions in the system and interview thought leaders at national, state and local levels.

Sep 8, 2016

A couple years ago, the state got rid of the California Standards Tests and opted for a new way to check in on student progress.

On this week’s podcast, Steve Green, senior director for assessment, accountability and evaluation at the San Diego County Office of Education, joined co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn to talk about the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, the state's new standardized testing system. The test aligns with Common Core Standards and is more rigorous than the older California Standards Tests, Green said.

"The standards we had before and the way we were assessing was through multiple choice," he said. "The new assessment really does get at critical thinking and application. There are open-ended items where students have to write a response in. There's the performance task, which is very sophisticated. That's where students are truly demonstrating what they know and are able to do."

Since implementing the new assessment standards, San Diego County increased student performance in math and English language arts and literacy at a rate matching the rise seen across the state. The county is ahead of the state in overall performance, Green said.

Lewis and Kohn also discuss achievement gaps between high- and low-income students and between different racial groups.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Number of the Week

62 percent and 49 percent: The percentages of Chula Vista Elementary School District students who met or exceeded English and math standards, respectively, on recent standardized tests. The district outscored San Diego County and the state.

What’s Working

EdSource is a California news and research organization focused on education. Their online source provides snapshots of academic performance data for schools and districts across the state.