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Message from the ABC Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu



Dr_Mary Sieu_

(Follow us on Twitter @abcsupt or Facebook to stay in touch)

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? I’m sure many of you who watched the popular television show and played along with the guest contestants felt either proud or dismayed in competing with the students. As the new Common Core State Standards are moving forward in all public schools in California, it’s important to know what is expected of our students. The new standards keep the best of what we have but replaced outdated ways of learning with a clear focus on the key knowledge and skills students need. California is a governing member of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) that is developing new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Recently, I tweeted to the public “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” I challenged the public to take a look at the new State test that will be implemented in 2014-15 called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The Smarter Balanced Practice Tests are now available for grades three through eight and grade eleven in English-language arts and mathematics. It provides a preview of the Smarter Balanced assessments but do not reflect the full range of content that our students may encounter on the actual assessments.

Students and parents are encouraged to go online to take the SBAC Practice Tests. You may find them at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/smarterbalanced.asp
The District is anticipating on administering the new assessments beginning 2014-15. The new SBAC tests will replace the California Standards Test that has been in place since 1999.

In ABCUSD, the test outcomes will be not only be used to determine a school’s Academic Performance Index (API) but they will also be used for the admissions criteria for Whitney High School and eligibility for the Gifted and Talented Education (G.A.T.E.) Programs. If you think you’re smarter than a 5th grader, then I challenge you to take the Smarter Balanced 5th Grade Practice Tests. If you’re feeling especially confident take the 11th grade test!

  • Once Again Sieu Misses the Mark says:

    Did the Superintendent of ABC actually say, “The new standards keep the best of what we have but replaced outdated ways of learning with a clear focus on the key knowledge and skills students need.”

    Interesting, wasn’t those “outdated” ways of learning you suggest that gave us the technological advances we have enjoy today. Students coming out of that system and in one room school houses landed men on the moon and brought them back, gave us the transistor, satellites, fought and won two world wars persevering freedom for the world, the list of accomplishments goes on.

    What has the more modern ways of learning given us? Chaos in our political system, break down of morals and common curiosity, socially disadvantaged students, students who graduate high school who can’t read, a country that trails the world in math and science. Students no longer know the fundamentals home economics helping to create a debtor society. This list also goes on.

    Let’s get back to the basics of what’s “really” important in education. Nearly anyone can learn to be a good test taker. It’s the “application” of what is learned that is important.

    The philosophy coming out of ABC over the last couple of decades continues to missing the mark. Removing classes and programs that once created well rounded members of society. The ABC Superintendent assumes in her “clear focus” that all student are the same — learn the same — desire the same. Not so. Many students have no desire to go to college, amass a huge debt in college loans and then work for someone else.

    Ms. Sieu, are you focused on educating our children on how to be good test takers to improve your API Scores or are you focused on preparing them to succeed in an ever changing world economy?