California must test students on the right skills for college and career

Californians have high expectations: We want our schools to help young people become socially responsible, creative and critical thinkers and flexible lifelong learners.

That’s what we say. But that’s not how we have been grading schools.

For more than a decade, our accountability system has focused exclusively on standardized tests that measure relatively low-level skills. While tests can be useful, even more important is how well students are prepared for college, careers and life after high school.

As a state that defines innovation, we should not rely on an outmoded accountability system that doesn’t reflect our goals for young people. The governor and Legislature have overhauled school funding, shifting control of resources to local communities and requiring that they measure progress toward college and career readiness. What gets measured in these new Local Control and Accountability Plans will matter greatly for the opportunities our children will have available to them in the coming years.