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Academic Standards and Assessment

Academic standards define the knowledge and skills students must develop during their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards are aligned with college and work expectations; are clear, understandable and consistent; include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order skills; build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards; are informed by other top performing countries so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and are evidence-based.

Assessment refers to the process through which educators and other stakeholders monitor student progress. When used effectively, assessment results inform the interventions that teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other stakeholders can employ to address challenges with student learning. Assessment varies in terms of frequency, purpose, and audience; thus, a diversity of assessment instruments and practices are needed to support high-quality teaching and learning. These range from formative activities that are part of daily interactions between teachers and their students to high-profile state-administered summative assessments that drive accountability decisions.

The California Collaborative has been among many organizations on the forefront of standards adoption and implementation efforts, exploring the essential roles of standards, assessments, and instruction in maximizing learning opportunities for students. Our district leaders guide promising capacity building efforts at the local level and the Collaborative and has been actively engaged in building the knowledge base and sharing best practices among our members and with districts across the state.

March 2019

In the face of stagnant achievement and persistent achievement gaps in mathematics, school districts have enacted a variety of changes to varying levels of success. On the heels of an Algebra for All model that failed to generate desired outcomes of… Read More

July 2015

The California Collaborative’s June 2015 meeting in Whittier Union High School District gave district leaders the opportunity to provide feedback on the first official administration of California’s new Smarter Balanced assessments in English… Read More

March 2015

As California approaches a new system of academic standards, instruction, and assessment, it enters familiar territory. The use of multiple modes of assessment, tight alignment between assessments and expectations for student learning, and a focus… Read More

March 2014

As district leaders search for the best ways to improve student learning with the Common Core State Standards, some early implementers are giving us an opportunity to learn from their experience. This brief describes Sacramento City Unified School… Read More

February 2013

This brief stems from the symposium Collaborating for Success: Implementing the Common Core State Standards in California co-hosted by the California Collaborative in August 2012.  It provides an overview of the promises and challenges of… Read More

June 2010

The California Collaborative on District Reform met as a group on June 29-30, 2010 to review the Common Core State Standards in depth, examine their relationship to California’s current standards, and discuss what their adoption would mean for… Read More

March 2010

This policy and practice brief builds on dialogue that began in response to the California State Board of Education’s July 2008 motion to make Algebra 1 the test of record for California’s eighth grade students. While this decision has since been… Read More

September 2015

In response to the highly anticipated results of the first Smarter Balanced administration, State Board of Education President Mike Kirst shares his impressions of the scores in the San Francisco Chronicle. Kirst first emphasizes the importance of… Read More

January 2015

In an article in the Sacramento Bee, Mike Kirst, president of the State Board of Education, warns that state assessments scores are bound to exhibit an initial dip when the state first administers new Common Core-aligned tests this spring. He… Read More

December 2018

Meeting 37
December 4-5, 2018
Long Beach, California California school districts have long struggled to help their students reach high levels of skill and understanding in mathematics. Yet outcomes on both state and national assessments… Read More

June 2015 - June 2015

Meeting 28
June 18-19, 2014
Whittier, California The California Collaborative on District Reform convened in Whittier for a two-day meeting, Assessment and Teacher Leadership in the Transition to the Common Core. The Collaborative… Read More

November 2013 - November 2013

Meeting 23
November 21-22, 2013
Sacramento, California The California Collaborative on District Reform convened in Sacramento for a two-day meeting, Leveraging Opportunities for Instructional Excellence: Implementing the Common Core.… Read More

June 2011 - July 2011

Meeting 16
June 30-July 1, 2011
Los Angeles, CA The California Collaborative on District Reform convened for the sixteenth time on June 30 and July 1, 2011 in Los Angeles. The group explored the ways in which assessments can both help… Read More

June 2010 - June 2010

Meeting 13
June 29-30,2010
La Jolla, CA The California Collaborative on District Reform met as a group on June 29-30, 2010 to review the Common Core State Standards in depth, examine their relationship to California’s current standards… Read More