Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

California Science Test


On September 4, 2013, the State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS) as required by California Education Code Section 60605.85. The CA NGSS Appendices A–M also were adopted to assist teachers in the implementation of the new science standards.

On November 3, 2016, the SBE approved a draft Science Framework.

The California Department of Education is developing a new science assessment based on the CA NGSS. The statewide California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System includes federally required science assessments in grades five and eight and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve). This science assessment is the new California Science Test (CAST), which is based on the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve.

2017 CAST Pilot Assessment Fact Sheet (PDF) – Who, What, When, Why, and How
Accessible Alternative Version (AAV) of the 2017 CAST Pilot Assessment Fact Sheet

CAST – How to Start a Test Session (PDF) – a one page document that describes the initial steps to starting a test session.

CAST video – Informational video about the pilot CAST and the NGSS. (New; 30-Mar-2017)

CAST Timeline

The implementation of CAST is under way, as shown below:

Year CAST Available Testing Window
2016–17
Pilot test
March 20, 2017, to the local educational agency’s (LEA’s) within the selected testing window or last day of instruction
2017–18
Field test
To be determined (TBD)
2018–19
Operational test
TBD
2019–20
Operational test
TBD

Eligible Students

The CAST is for eligible students in grades five, eight, and once in high school. For the 2017 pilot test high schools have been assigned a grade in which to administer the CAST. The assignments can be found on the CAASPP.org High School Grade Assignments for 2016–17 Science Pilot Testing Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Administration of the Pilot Test

The CAST is for eligible students in grades five, eight, and once in high school. The CAST pilot test consists of 12 to 15 items with one performance task and a short survey and takes approximately one hour to complete. For this pilot test student scores will not be collected or reported.

Preparing for the Operational Test

CAST Accessibility Supports for Operational Testing (PDF) – This report establishes the accessibility guidelines used during the development of the CAST operational test.

The California Alternate Assessment for Science is for students in grades five, eight, and high school identified for alternate assessment by an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Introduction to the CA NGSS

The CA NGSS, on which the CAST is based, are much different from the previous California science standards (PDF) of 1998. The CA NGSS emphasize the importance of having a deep understanding of science concepts and engaging in scientific thinking. These standards further acknowledge the importance of addressing crosscutting concepts.

The NGSS for California also emphasize:

  • The integration of scientific and engineering practices throughout the content standards
  • The integration of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics
  • The integration of skills and practices across the content areas as the foundation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education
  • Student understanding and use of scientific knowledge within and across science disciplines
  • Learning progressions that develop in K–12
  • How to Read the CA NGSS Standards (DOC)

Related Resources

The following Web sites include numerous resources for the NGSS.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Related Content
Recently Posted in Testing
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 223 (added 15-Sep-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, September 13, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 222 (added 08-Sep-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, September 7, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 221 (added 31-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, August 30, 2017.
  • Matrix Four: ELPAC (added 28-Aug-2017)
    Matrix Four displays the universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations (non-embedded) allowed as part of the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California beginning October 1, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 219 (added 28-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, August 16, 2017.

  • CAASPP Update, Issue 220 (added 28-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, August 23, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 218 (added 10-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, August 9, 2017.
  • CAASPP Coordinator Checklist (added 04-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), Summative Assessments checklist of tasks and activities for successful administration.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 217 (added 03-Aug-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, August 2, 2017.
  • CAASPP Update, Issue 216 (added 27-Jul-2017)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, July 26, 2017.