California Plan to Overhaul Standardized Tests Riles Feds

California lawmakers moved closer to sending Governor Jerry Brown a bill to overhaul standardized testing of school children, even as federal officials say they may withhold funding if the measure becomes law.

The bill, which passed the Senate yesterday 25-7, would have the most populous U.S. state scrap the multiple-choice printed test students have taken for more than two decades, to be replaced by computerized math and language exams tied to new national curriculum standards adopted by 45 states.

Senate approval came even after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned California that the state may lose federal education funds if it switches systems. The state would be left without required test scores while the new exams are brought online, he said.

“This vote brings us a step closer to trading our outdated fill-in-the-bubble paper tests for new, computerized assessments that model the skills today’s students need,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement. “If we want our education system to inspire students to learn to think critically and solve problems, we need tests to match those lofty goals.”

The bill heads back to the Assembly for a final vote on amendments before going to Brown.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at

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