2013-12-19 / Schools

CVUSD bolsters tech staff to prepare itself for testing under Common Core

By Darleen Principe

The Conejo Valley Unified School District is gearing up for the first round of computer-based assessment testing this spring under Common Core and will add a new position to its technology services department as a result.

On Dec. 3, the school board voted unanimously to establish a new full-time systems analyst position to provide technology support at the various school sites as needed. The monthly salary range for the position is $4,936 to $6,020.

CVUSD officials created the new position— which is expected to be filled by January—in preparation for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the high-tech exam format aligned to the recently adopted Common Core state standards.

“This will be our baseline year,” said Mark McLaughlin, CVUSD’s assistant superintendent of personnel services. “It’s going to give us the data to determine what adjustments we need to make. More technology comes along with more personnel, to really help support the system and solve any problems that may arise.”

In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 484, eliminating all future Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) system tests, which have been assessing student achievement in reading, math, science and social studies in California since the late 1990s.

Students throughout the state are set to try the interactive, computerized Smarter Balanced tests for the first time this spring, although the scores will not count toward a school’s academic performance until 2015.

CVUSD currently has two full-time systems analysts on staff, who are responsible for providing computer and network support.

The third, newly added position will help with the expansion of the district’s technical infrastructure, McLaughlin said.

“We have to make sure we have the technology on all our campuses to support the Smarter Balanced system and give the baseline test this school year,” he said. “The technology department is already working every day in different school sites.”

McLaughlin said the district plans to promote someone from within to fill the new position, leaving a lower position vacant.

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