Skip to main content

The Federal Government Denies California’s Request for New Science Tests

The California Department of Education is pushing forward with plans to update its science tests — even though the federal government has now twice halted the state’s proposal.

California wants to refresh its science tests to reflect curriculum standards approved by the state in 2013 that emphasize more experiments in science lessons rather than lectures, the Los Angeles Times reports. The new tests would be geared toward that shift.

But the federal Department of Education rejected the state’s request to pilot new tests and stop issuing the old ones on Tuesday in a letter from Ann Whalen, senior advisor to Secretary of Education John King, obtained by the California education non-profit EdSource.

Whalen cited concerns over the state’s lack of plans to report pilot testing data to “parents, educators, or the public,” and over the new tests not covering all of the “State’s academic content standards” in science.

But Whalen’s reservations may not mean much after a new secretary of education takes the reins. California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson plans to move forward, noting to the Times, “the current administration is leaving in a few weeks.” So California’s Department of Education may, with respect to its science tests, be eagerly awaiting the new Trump guard.