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May 19, 2002
I just want people to know how the testing craze has affected education at the high school where I teach. Last week, all students who hadn't passed the new exit exam (most of the kids) spent three entire days testing. This week all ESL students are taking the SABE test. For the next two weeks, all students will be taking the Stanford 9, then the ESL kids take the APRENDA test for another week. That's three weeks of class missed or severely limited due to testing for the regular students, and five weeks for the ESL students.
September 11, 2013 | By Howard Blume
The California Assembly on Wednesday easily approved an overhaul of the state's student testing system in which schools and parents would not receive test scores for at least a year. The vote of 51 to 22 was largely along party lines, with Democrats overwhelmingly in favor. The state Senate had  passed the bill Tuesday. The next stop for Assembly Bill 484 is the office of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has said he supports the legislation. The bill would immediately end state funding for pencil-and-paper standardized exams used since 1999.
October 2, 1988
I do not condone schools cheating on test results. I do understand why it happens. The issue not yet addressed is societal. Society expects teachers to be responsible for what students learn. It is a teacher's job to teach well. It is the student's job to learn. A poor test result is the student's failure, not the teacher's. When our society assigns responsibilities correctly, there will be no cheating problem. I have been a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified District for 31 years.
May 21, 2013 | By Dalina Castellanos, Los Angeles Times
At age 59, Rita Kowalski decided she wanted to use the computer for more than emailing her kids and looking up salmon recipes. Forty-two years after she dropped out of high school to start a family, Kowalski, now a grandmother of 12, is using it to get her high school equivalency credential. "I perked up because I can look straight at the computer," Kowalski said. "My attention span is shorter with books for some reason, but I can look at the screen for hours and it doesn't seem to bother me. " After decades of pencil-to-paper test sheets, California this year became the latest state to launch the General Educational Development test, known as the GED, in a computer format.
March 9, 1994
The performance of California public schools and their students is being measured in a new way. Students still take a test given statewide, but there are some major differences from past tests. For the first time, student work is being compared to new standards in reading, writing and math. The standards are intentionally high, and the same for all schools--rich and poor, whether in Los Angeles or Anaheim or Salinas. Tests are no longer mainly multiple choice and scored by machine.
April 2, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A parade of Atlanta educators trooped to the county jail beginning in the early hours of Tuesday morning and surrendered to officials on criminal charges stemming what is believed to be the biggest testing scandal in American education. By early morning, at least four of the 35 teachers, principals and school officials had turned themselves in and were expected to post bonds ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million. All were named in a 65-count indictment released last week by Fulton County Dist.
January 8, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The state's top education official has proposed reducing the number of standardized tests that students must take next year as California moves to a new testing system. Under a plan put forward Tuesday by state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, second-graders would not be tested in math and English next year. Most high school tests would also be dropped. If lawmakers approve the plan, schools would be evaluated on a narrower range of test data for a period of one year, before a new system is put in place.
December 22, 2012 | Sandy Banks
When Tony Tolbert turned 50 last year, he marked the occasion by moving in with his mother. The decision wasn't about money. He's a Harvard-educated attorney, on the staff of UCLA's law school. And it wasn't because his mother wanted or needed him home. It was Tolbert's response to the sort of midlife milestone that prompts us to take stock. Instead of buying a sports car, he decided to turn his home - rent free - over to strangers. He'd been inspired by a magazine article about a family that sold their house, squeezed into a tiny replacement and donated to charity the $800,000 proceeds from the sale.
July 19, 2012 | By Jamie Goldberg, Washintgon Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has approved seven more requests for waivers from the No Child Left Behind law, recognizing the continued inability of states to live up to lofty standards that have caused thousands of schools to be marked as failing. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that Arizona, Oregon, South Carolina, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi and the District of Columbia would join 26 states already exempt from key provisions in the strict law. No Child Left Behind was supposed to force schools to be accountable by raising education expectations and setting a goal for all students to be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.
April 28, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Hundreds of photos of standardized tests have begun to appear on social-networking sites in California, raising concerns about test security and cheating by students. In the worst-case scenario, the photos could lead to invalidating test scores for entire schools or prevent the state from using certain tests. For now, officials have warned school districts to heighten test security and investigate breaches. Students are not allowed to have access to cellphones or other devices that can take pictures when the tests are administered.
February 16, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots Blog
Proficiency in organic chemistry may still be a necessary condition for getting into medical school. But starting in 2015, it will no longer be sufficient. In an effort to create a cadre of future physicians with improved bedside manners, the Assn. of American Medical Colleges has announced changes to the Medical College Admission Test ( MCATs ) that would plumb applicants' knowledge of psychology, sociology and biology, as well as their ethical and scientific reasoning skills.
February 2, 2012
When the 2011 winners of the coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award were announced, only one of the 305 recipients was in Los Angeles, and that was a charter school. By contrast, two were located about 30 miles away, in Santa Ana - in a school district less than one-tenth the size of L.A. Unified. Yet Santa Ana Unified is far from affluent. A higher percentage of its students are poor and not fluent in English than in L.A. Unified . Close to 95% are Latino - making Santa Ana the most demographically homogenous school district in Orange County.
January 20, 2012
There are plenty of problems with the school reform movement, but the number of standardized tests isn't one of them. The tests are still the most objective and affordable yardsticks of achievement available. They should be improved and the results should be kept in perspective, but there is no evidence that cutting back on them — as Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed — will improve education. Students in California take more annual standards tests than are mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The state tests students in English and math each year through 11th grade; federal law requires that, in high school, the tests be given just once.
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