Smarter Balanced sparks test reform

Low turnout raises questions about time allotment and scheduling better test dates

Noah Smith, Staff Writer

In response to the extremely low turnout for the Smarter Balanced and Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) tests the last week of April, Palo Alto High School administrators are considering making drastic changes to how the tests are taken.

The time allotments for the tests were a state requirement, and most students did not need the full amount of time provided.
“We are looking for different schedules,” Paulson said. “We might do four days instead of two, and having them built into regular school days so that more students will take the tests.”

Despite standardized tests’ shortcomings, the Advanced Placement (AP) tests ran fairly smoothly.

“Based on the complexity of the [AP] tests, they went well,” administrator Jerry Berkson said. “There were a few technical problems that will be fixed as students make up the tests.”

Many more students called in sick this year for AP tests.

“With all the illnesses going around, it was no big surprise,” said Berkson.

There was plenty of potential for technological mistakes as well.

“I would say it ran fairly smoothly, and went well overall,” said Berkson.

The Baccalaureate will be held in the Flint Center in San Jose, with Paly alumnus Ann Miura-Ko as the keynote speaker, on May 29.

“Committees are working on who will perform right now,” Berkson said.

Also, there will be locker clean-out as usual, and students must pay book bills in order to receive a yearbook and senior diplomas.