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Assembly Bill 484 Questions and Answers

Questions and answers regarding Assembly Bill (AB) 484, which establishes California's new statewide student assessment system. AB 484 was signed into law on October 2, 2013.

Last Updated: January 31, 2014

  1. What is Assembly Bill (AB) 484?
    Signed into law on October 2, 2013, AB 484 (Bonilla) External link opens in new window or tab. establishes California's new student assessment system, now known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The CAASPP assessment system replaces the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. The primary purpose of the CAASPP assessment system is to assist teachers, administrators, and pupils and their parents by promoting high-quality teaching and learning through the use of a variety of assessment approaches and item types.
  1. When does AB 484 take effect?
    The provisions of AB 484 take effect on January 1, 2014.
  1. Which subjects and grades are assessed in the CAASPP assessment system? (updated 6-Jan-2014)
    AB 484 calls for the transition to a system of assessments and assessment tools that cover the full breadth and depth of the curriculum and promote the teaching of the full curriculum. This transition will take several years to complete.
    For the 2013–14 school year, CAASPP is comprised of the following:
    • Field test of the consortium (i.e., Smarter Balanced*) summative assessment for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics in grades three through eight and grade eleven.
    • Grade-level science assessments, including the California Standards Tests (CSTs), California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA), and the California Modified Assessment (CMA), in grades five, eight, and ten.
    • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for ELA and mathematics in grades two through eleven.
    • Voluntary for grade eleven students, the Early Assessment Program (EAP) in ELA and mathematics.
    • Optional for local educational agencies (LEAs) to administer, the Standards-based Tests in Spanish. (Further information about grade levels and subjects will be forthcoming.)

  2. How does the passage of AB 484 affect the statewide testing of English learners? (updated 12-Nov-2013)
    AB 484 exempts English learners who have been attending school in the United States less than 12 months (i.e., recently arrived English learners) from taking the Smarter Balanced English language arts/literacy assessments. All English learners, including recently arrived English learners, are required to take the Smarter Balanced mathematics assessments. In addition, they are required to take the grade-level science assessment (either the CST, CAPA, or CMA) in grades five, eight, and ten.

  3. Can the Smarter Balanced Field Test of 2014 be used as the “performance of basic skills” criterion for the reclassification of English learners? (added 10-Jan-2014)
    No. LEAs will not receive student-level results from the spring 2014 Smarter Balanced Field Test. In 2013–14, there is no need to change the local reclassification policy.

    LEAs are to establish local reclassification policies that allow for “the effective and efficient conduct of the language reclassification process” (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 11303). Further, LEAs must establish school district advisory committees on programs and services for English learners, and one of the key roles of this committee is to “review and comment on the district reclassification procedures” (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 11308[c][6]). Therefore, school districts are afforded flexibility when identifying appropriate measures of academic performance when establishing local reclassification policy.
  1. With the suspension of the STAR program, which tests can be used for the reclassification of English learners in 2013–14? (added 10-Jan-2014)
    There is no change to the State Board of Education (SBE) guidelines for reclassification of English learners in 2013–14. Education Code Section 313(f)(4) calls for a comparison of student performance in basic skills against an empirically established range of performance in basic skills based on the performance of English proficient students of the same age.

    While the spring Smarter Balanced Field Test will not yield any scores, the suspension of CSTs and CMAs does not impede or prohibit a school district’s ability to use the 2012–13 CST or CMA ELA results to be used as the academic criterion for reclassification during the 2013–14 school year.

  2. What resources are available to English learners during Smarter Balanced Field Testing? (added 10-Jan-2014)
    The Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) provide a list of the available universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations for use on the Field Test. All students have access to universal tools, such as highlighter, embedded ruler, strikethrough, and English dictionary. ELs also may have access to appropriate designated supports, such as stacked translations and bilingual dictionary. ELs with disabilities may use accommodations designated in their individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, such as closed captioning or braille.

  3. Will there be a primary language assessment? (added 10-Jan-2014)
    In 2013–14, LEAs will have the option to administer the Standards-based Test in Spanish (STS) in reading language arts (RLA) for a pupil identified as limited English proficient enrolled in any of grades two through eleven, who receives instruction in his or her primary language or has been enrolled in a school in the United States for less than 12 months. The STS in RLA is available for this student population at no cost to the LEA and an apportionment will be paid.
  1. Has information about Smarter Balanced been translated into languages other than English? (added 10-Jan-2014)
    Yes. A Web page in Spanish provides downloadable factsheets for teachers, parents, and students as well as information on the assessment system. This information is located on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Parents and Students Recursos en español Web page. (Note, the preceding Web address is no longer valid.)
  1. What assessments will be used for the EAP Program? (updated 10-Oct-2013)
    The current augmented CSTs for ELA and mathematics will continue to be used for the EAP Program in 2013–14. Beginning in the 2014–15 school year, the grade eleven Smarter Balanced computer adaptive assessments for ELA and mathematics will replace the augmented CSTs that are used for the EAP.
  1. What tools will be provided to educators to assist them in implementing and assessing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?
    AB 484 provides LEAs, at no cost, with formative tools and interim assessments for ELA and mathematics. Formative assessment tools are assessment tools and processes that are embedded in instruction and used by teachers and pupils to provide feedback for purposes of adjusting instruction to improve learning. Interim assessments are assessments that are designed to be given at regular intervals throughout the school year to evaluate a pupil’s knowledge and skills relative to a specific set of standards.
  1. Will science be tested under CAASPP?
    The grade-level CST, CAPA, and CMA science assessments will continue to be administered in grades five, eight, and ten until new tests aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, adopted in September 2013, are implemented.
  1. Are previous STAR assessments available to LEAs? (updated 10-Oct-2013)
    STAR assessments that are not a part of the CAASPP assessment system may be available for use by LEAs. Additional information on the process to order such assessments will be forthcoming. (Note that the STAR ELA , including the grad 4 & 7 writing assessments, and mathematics tests to be made available do not assess the CCSS.) 
  1. Can CAASPP results be compared with results from STAR?
    AB 484 prohibits the comparison of CAASPP assessment results with results from STAR assessments that measure previously adopted content standards (e.g., CAASPP ELA assessment and STAR ELA assessments). CAASPP assessments that measure the same content standards as previously administered STAR assessments (e.g., science in grades five, eight, and ten) may be compared.
  1. Does the passage of AB 484 affect the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) requirement? (added 24-Oct-2013)
    No. The CAHSEE is not addressed in AB 484, so the passage of AB 484 has no impact on the CAHSEE requirement. Unless legislation is introduced and passed changing the existing requirement, LEAs are still required to administer the CAHSEE and it remains a high school graduation requirement.
  1. Where should questions about AB 484 be directed?
    Questions about AB 484 should be directed to the CDE CAASPP Office by phone at 916-445-8765 or by e-mail at

* The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a multistate consortium developing assessments aligned with the CCSS for ELA and mathematics. California is a governing member of the consortium. More information on the Smarter Balanced assessments can be found on the California Department of Education Smarter Balanced Web site.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Friday, November 18, 2016
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