Parent Engagement Messages
Parent Engagement Messages: Set 3
- 1.1. How are the Smarter Balanced Assessments different from the old tests and what do the scores mean? [Elementary and middle school version]
Results of our students’ Smarter Balanced Assessments will be released in the coming weeks. The scores will tell you how your child is doing under Common Core, the updated learning standards for math and English language arts. These standards focus more on real-world skills like critical thinking and problem solving.
We’ll send your child’s results in a Student Score Report. Students will receive an overall score for each subject, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000. This score shows if students met, did not meet or exceeded expectations for their grade. The second page of the report includes a further breakdown of that score, providing individualized information on your child’s academic strengths and potential challenges. This short video explains why testing student progress is important.
The new assessments are fundamentally different from the old tests, so you shouldn’t try to compare these results with your child’s previous scores—they’re measuring different things. These results are a starting place for a detailed record of your child’s progress through school, which will help you, and our school, give them the support they need to succeed. This year’s tests establish a baseline, so the results won’t be used to determine if your child moves on to the next grade. Read more about the Score Reports at the California Department of Education website.
- 2.2. What do the Common Core standards and Smarter Balanced assessments mean for high school students planning for college?
There are a few pieces of key information parents with students preparing for college should know about the updated standards and assessments.
- Higher education in California strongly supports Common Core, including the University of California, CSU, CCC, and Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Learn more about California college and university support of Common Core here and here.
- The Smarter Balanced assessments were developed with the cooperation of the California State University System (CSU). For students planning to attend a CSU or most California community colleges, meeting/exceeding expectations on the 11th grade test can be used to prove they’re ready for college level work and won’t need to take remedial English or math courses. This can save time and money in the first years of college. For students who fall short of meeting the 11th grade standards, the test provides an early warning on areas to focus on during their senior year to be prepared for non-remedial course when entering college. Additional information is available here.
- Beginning in 2016 the updated SAT will be aligned with the Common Core standards. That means the critical thinking, problem-solving and reading and writing skills emphasized by Common Core will help prepare your child for that important test.