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SMMUSD Forgoes State-Mandated Assessments, Will Use Local Tests

District will use Fastbridge tests in elementary, Renaissance Star exams in secondary level

Students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District won't be required to take the federal and state-mandated assessment tests this school year.

But they will have to take local standardized tests that measure their literacy and numeracy skills, Supt. Ben Drati said this week.

In a letter to parents, released on Wednesday, Drati said school districts in California have recently been given the flexibility by the federal and the state governments to use locally selected tests rather the Smarter Balanced statewide assessments due to the lasting implications of the pandemic.

"I have recommended that we take advantage of the flexibility and forgo the summative California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) this year and implement local measures that will provide our district with similar information regarding student learning," he said.

At the elementary level, Drati said, SMMUSD will use the Fastbridge assessments that "measure students' literacy and numeracy skills as aligned to grade-level standards through the use of Fastbridge eReading or aReading and Fastbridge aMath."

The Fastbridge assessments are designed to provide teachers and support staff with information on a range of skills, including ways to improve instructional practices; identifying what skills students need to improve; and insights on how students would perform when they take state level assessment, the superintendent said.

At the secondary level, Drati said, the district will introduce the Renaissance Star Reading Assessment.

"This K–12 comprehensive assessment provides all the insights needed to guide literacy growth for emergent readers, struggling readers, and high achievers, whether the student is being tested in-person, remotely, or a combination of both," said Drati. "It is efficient and predictive of a student's ability to perform on the state CAASPP as well as other standardized assessments, such as SAT and ACT."

Drati said SMMUSD will use the CSU/UC Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) assessment which produces the same level of information as Star Renaissance does but would focus on math skills.

"As you are aware, this school year has been challenging, unique, and filled with changes we have had to navigate in order to deliver a meaningful education to our students," the superintendent said. "We are close to the end of the school year, and I appreciate your agility and growth mindset as we tackle the 'roller coaster' educational experience."


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