CULVER CITY ( — State and local education officials Monday unveiled a new computer-based standardized testing model aimed at giving students an “academic checkup.”

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the new Smarter Balanced student assessments could replace the old “pencil-in-the-bubble” testing method with a keyboard.

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More than 3 million third- through eight-grade students statewide are expected to participate in a trial run of the Smarter Balanced assessment for quality assurance, as well as to help teachers and schools gauge their readiness in advance of the first operational assessment in spring 2015, according to test officials.

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The assessment, which focuses on critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving in English and math, comes from one of two multi-state financial groups awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by the 2014-15 school year, officials said.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said the new system will give teachers information they need during the school year “to give parents and teachers a better picture on where students are succeeding and where they need help.”

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The Smarter Balanced field test is scheduled to be administered March 25 to June 6.