BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 476
          Author:   Torlakson (D)
          Amended:  8/19/09 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE  :  7-1, 7/8/09
          AYES:  Romero, Alquist, Hancock, Liu, Maldonado, Padilla,  
          NOES:  Huff
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Wyland

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  : 7-5, 08/27/09
          AYES: Kehoe, Corbett, Hancock, Leno, Oropeza, Price, Yee
          NOES: Cox, Denham, Runner, Walters, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED: Wolk

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  52-26, 6/3/09 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Standardized Testing and Reporting Program

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST :    This bill requires the Superintendent of Public  
          Instruction to contract for an independent evaluation of  
          the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, including  
          the standards aligned tests administered in grades 2  
          through 11, and report findings of the evaluation to the  
          Governor and Legislature by November 2010.

           ANALYSIS  :    The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)  


                                                                AB 476

          Program, initially authorized in 1997, requires 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 Test (CST) replaced a nationally  
          published "off the shelf" test as the primary battery of  
          STAR tests.  The CSTs are written specifically to test  
          California's content standards.  The STAR Program is  
          currently scheduled to sunset in July 2011.

          Results for STAR tests are reported for the individual  
          pupil, but no accountability attaches to these individual  
          results; 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, which requires  
          standards-aligned achievement testing in reading and  
          mathematics to all students in grades 3 through 8 and grade  
          10; and also requires science testing in grades 5, 8 and  

          This bill:

          1.Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI)  
            to contract, by April 1, 2010, for an independent  
            evaluation of the STAR Program.  This evaluation is to be  
            a meta-analysis of existing information and data from the  
            STAR Program based upon the following:

             A.    A report on the results of prior analyses  
                regarding the alignment between the STAR assessments  
                and the full range of the content standards and a  
                determination of whether the STAR Program assesses  
                pupil knowledge in the same manner and at the same  
                level of complexity as expected in the content  

             B.    An independent analysis of the ability of the  
                tests to produce scores for an individual pupil that  
                can be validly compared from year to year.

             C.    Grade level continuity and vertical anticipation  



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                of the content standards and the ability of the tests  
                to produce scores.

             D.    A report on the results of prior analyses  
                regarding pupil performance by test, grade level,  
                race or ethnicity.

             E.    The degree to which the STAR Program complies with  
                professional testing standards and satisfies state  
                and federal testing requirements for each grade  

             F.    The usefulness of STAR tests for program  

             G.    The feasibility and cost of the development and  
                administration of a diagnostic alternative test in  
                grade levels and content standard areas that are not  
                required be tested under federal law.

          2.Requires the evaluator to include recommendations:

             A.    To improve the quality, fairness, validity, and  
                reliability of the tests.

             B.    For revisions in design, administration, scoring,  
                processing, or use of the tests to ensure compliance  
                with state and federal requirements.

             C.    For revisions to improve grade level continuity  
                and vertical alignment of test content and the  
                ability of the tests to produce scorers for an  
                individual pupil that can be validly compared from  
                year to year.

             D.    For revisions to improve integration of content  
                standards in core curriculum areas and improve the  
                usefulness of the test to state and local educational  
                agencies, as well as, schools, teachers, pupils, and  

             E.    For revisions that would allow the STAR Program to  
                provide pupil-level diagnostic information and to  
                provide a diagnostic assessment for classroom use.



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             F.    Recommendations regarding alternative diagnostic  
                assessments that align with state academic content  

          3.Requires the SPI to provide the evaluation to the  
            Legislature, the Governor, and the State Board of  
            Education by November 1, 2010.

          4.Requires the SPI's advisory committee on API matters to  
            advise the SPI on the independent evaluation, as  
            specified, and requires the SPI to add four individuals  
            having expertise in large-scale assessment to the  
            advisory committee for this purpose only.

          5.Requires the SPI to use $150,000 of specified federal  
            funds for the purpose of the contracted evaluation.

           Related/Prior Legislation

           SB 800 (Hancock), pending in the Senate Education  
          Committee, eliminates grade 2 STAR testing and makes  
          conforming changes to dates by which related sections of  
          law become inoperative and are repealed.

          SB 1448 (Alpert), Chapter 233, Statutes of 2004,  
          reauthorized the STAR Program.  

          AB 376 (Alpert), Chapter 828, Statutes of 1997, established  
          the STAR Program and authorized testing in grades 2 through  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

                          Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions             2009-10             2010-11          
              2011-12             Fund

           STAR evaluation             $150                             

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/31/09)



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          Association of California School Administrators
          Business for Science, Math and Related Technologies  
          California Alliance for Arts Education
          California Teachers Association
          Small School Districts' Association
          California Science Teachers Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The California Alliance for Arts  
          Education supports the exemption of second grade students  
          from the annual STAR testing program.  They agree with the  
          California Teachers Association that this action would free  
          up valuable instructional time and resources at the second  
          grade level.  They further assert that eliminating second  
          grade testing would reverse the well-documented narrowing  
          of the curriculum in the second grade.  Recent California  
          research identifies the "pressure to improve test scores"  
          as one of the top barriers to providing visual and  
          performing arts instruction at the elementary grades.   
          Further, arts teachers at the upper elementary, middle, and  
          high school levels are challenged to provide  
          standards-based instruction that is grade-level appropriate  
          due to a lack of arts instruction in the early grades.   
          Increased provision of visual and performing arts  
          instruction in the primary grades creates a foundation of  
          valuable cognitive, emotion, social, and physical  
          development that positions students for successful learning  
          across the curriculum, and sets the state for grade-level  
          study in the arts as they move through their K-12 career  
          and strive to meet the admissions requirements for the UC  
          and CSU systems.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Ammiano, Arambula, Beall, Blumenfield,  
            Brownley, Buchanan, Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter,  
            Chesbro, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De Leon, Emmerson,  
            Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fong, Fuentes, Furutani, Galgiani,  
            Hall, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber, Huffman, Jones,  
            Krekorian, Lieu, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Monning,  
            Nava, Nestande, John A. Perez, V. Manuel Perez,  
            Portantino, Price, Ruskin, Salas, Saldana, Skinner,  
            Solorio, Swanson, Torlakson, Torres, Torrico, Bass



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          NOES:  Anderson, Bill Berryhill, Tom Berryhill, Blakeslee,  
            Conway, Cook, DeVore, Duvall, Fletcher, Fuller, Gaines,  
            Garrick, Gilmore, Hagman, Harkey, Jeffries, Knight,  
            Logue, Miller, Niello, Nielsen, Silva, Smyth, Audra  
            Strickland, Tran, Villines
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Block, Yamada

          DLW:cm  9/1/09   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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