BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           476 (Torlakson)
          
          Hearing Date:  08/27/2009           Amended: 08/19/2009
          Consultant:  Dan Troy           Policy Vote: ED 7-1
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
          BILL SUMMARY:   AB 476 would require the Superintendent of  
          Public Instruction, on or before April 1, 2010, to contract with  
          an independent evaluator to evaluate the Standardized Testing  
          and Reporting (STAR) program.  The report would be due by  
          November 1, 2010, and is intended to help guide consideration of  
          reauthorizing the program prior to its scheduled sunset in July  
          of 2011.   
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2009-10      2010-11       2011-12     Fund
                                                                  
          STAR evaluation                              $150          
          Federal                   
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____

          STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE.
          
          The STAR Program, initially authorized in 1997, requires the  
          testing of students in grades 2 through 11, including English  
          language arts and mathematics at most grade levels, and science  
          and history/social science at specified grade levels.  In 2003,  
          the California Standards Tests (CST) replaced an earlier "off  
          the shelf" test as the primary battery of STAR tests.  The CSTs  
          are written specifically to test California's content standards.  
           The state and federal accountability systems are primarily  
          based on the aggregated STAR test scores from all pupils in a  
          school or school district. Many elements of the STAR Program are  
          used by California to meet the assessment and accountability  
          requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.   
          The STAR Program is currently scheduled to sunset in July 2011. 

          This bill would require an independent evaluation of the  
          Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program.   
          Specifically, this bill would:  











          1)Require the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), on or  
            before April 1, 2010, to contract for an independent  
            evaluation of the STAR Program that would:

             a)   Report on the results of prior analyses regarding the  
               alignment between the STAR assessments and the content  
               standards.


             b)   Recommend for improvements and revisions in the program,  
               and to improve grade level continuity and vertical  
               alignment of standards-aligned test content.  


          2)Require the advisory committee advising the SPI on matters  
            involving the Academic Performance Index to advise the SPI, as  
            specified, on the evaluation of the STAR 
          Page 2
          AB 476 (Torlakson)


          3)Program, and requires the SPI to appoint four additional  
            members, educators or large-scale assessment experts, to the  
            advisory committee for the purposes advising the SPI on the  
            evaluation.

          4)Specify that federal Flexibility and Accountability funds  
            pursuant to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), not  
            to exceed $150,000, be used for this evaluation.

          The SPI would be required to provide the evaluation to the  
          Legislature, the Governor, and the State Board of Education by  
          November 1, 2010.

          Despite the importance of the STAR program to the K-12  
          accountability systems, there has yet to be an independent  
          evaluation of the program.  An evaluation could help to guide  
          consideration of reauthorizing the program prior to its  
          scheduled sunset in July of 2011.  

          Staff understands that the author has worked with the Department  
          to find ways to narrow the bill's cost while maintaining key  
          components of the evaluation.  The latest amendment of the bill  
          is more likely to maintain the $150,000 cap on expenditures then  
          the version originally analyzed in this committee by an  










          increased reliance on analysis already completed.