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California Alternate Assessments

California’s statewide alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

The California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for English language arts/literacy (ELA), mathematics, and science are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress system. The goals of the CAAs are to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for postsecondary options.

The CAAs for ELA and mathematics are aligned with alternate achievement standards—called the Core Content Connectors (CCCs)—and linked to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Eligible Students

Only eligible student may participate in the administration of the CAAs. Any student identified for alternate testing takes the alternate versions of all tests. Individualized education program (IEP) teams “shall determine when a child with a significant cognitive disability shall participate in an alternate assessment aligned with the alternate academic achievement standards.” (Title 1, Part A, Subpart 1, Sec. 1111(b)(2)(D)(ii)(I)—Every Student Succeeds Act, 2015)

Administration of the CAAs

Each CAA is administered in a one-to-one setting by the student’s teacher. Teachers and students have an opportunity to use the CAA training tests to gain experience with different types of questions and performance tasks. In January, new grade-specific practice tests will be available for ELA and mathematic which will allow teachers and students to become familiar with using the various embedded and non-embedded resources to establish the best possible setting for the student’s testing experience.

ELA and Mathematics

The CAAs for ELA and mathematics are given in grades three through eight and grade eleven. The ELA and mathematics tests are delivered online and are stage adaptive, adjusting to the student’s performance at selected points with the administration.

Science Pilot Test

The CAA for Science pilot will be given to all eligible students in grades five and eight and once in high school. The new CAA for Science pilot test is a performance task assessment designed to be delivered in conjunction with an instructional activity. For this pilot test no student scores will be collected or reported.

Core Content Connectors

The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) developed the Core Content Connectors (CCCs) for ELA and mathematics. These CCCs are content targets linked to the CCSS. The CCCs are less complex than the CCSS, focusing on the main academic content in each subject and grade. The CCCs illustrate the necessary knowledge and skills needed to reach the learning targets within the CCSS and the knowledge and skills needed in each grade. The CCCs identify priorities in each content area to guide the instruction for students in this population and for the alternate assessment.

CAA Blueprints

The CAA blueprints address the basic core content domains, the CCSS, the CCCs, and the essential understanding for each standard.

Performance Level Descriptors

The CAA Performance level descriptors (PLDs) are descriptions of what students at each performance level know and what they are able to do.

Optional Resources

For Coordinators, Administrators, and Teachers
For Parents/Guardians and Students

Contact Information

For information on the CAA for ELA, CAA for Mathematics, and the CAPA for Science, please contact:

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office
Phone: 916-445-8765
Fax: 916-319-0969
E-mail: caaspp@cde.ca.gov

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | CalAlt@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 28, 2016
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