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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 104

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 21, 2020.

Focusing on the CAASPP System and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California’s other statewide assessments.

ELPAC: Answering Your Questions in Detail

The California Department of Education (CDE) and testing contractor Educational Testing Service continue their commitment to supporting local educational agency (LEA) staff in ways that allow them to best serve their students and support their teachers—and are taking extra measures to do so during this truly challenging time.

The following questions and answers are included in this week’s Assessment Spotlight to provide you with further clarification and additional information related to the administration of the Initial ELPAC and test administration options:

Q: I am still not sure about the 30-day requirement and other dates we have been provided. What does it all mean?

A: At the moment, there is still a 30-day requirement for Initial ELPAC testing. A 45-day extension is being proposed through trailer bill language, and we will know at the end of this month whether it is approved. While the regulations state that you must complete testing within 30 days, the CDE understands that the current situation may prevent the timely completion of testing. At the very least, within the first 30 days, LEAs must use the results of the Home Language Survey to identify presumptive English learner students and notify their parents/guardians that English language development will occur during distance learning until such time that it is safe to administer the Initial ELPAC in person/co-located or remotely.

If your LEA does not meet the 30-day requirement, please document that testing was delayed due to COVID-19-related circumstances and place the documentation in the student's cumulative record or the student information system. The CDE is developing a delayed testing letter template and will notify coordinators as soon as it is available. It is recommended that LEAs develop a local procedure for assessment administration and results dissemination during this time and make it readily available for reference.

Students who are enrolled on or before October 7, 2020, will be included in the 2020–2021 census data reporting. If Initial ELPAC testing is completed before November 13, 2020, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) will be updated with the student’s English Language Acquisition Status, which will be reported for 2020–2021. Testing and scoring should be completed no later than November 12, 2020, to have CALPADS updated by November 13, 2020.

Q: When will the Test Administration Guidelines be available?

A: The original date for the guidelines to be sent was August 21, 2020. However, a few issues arose that need to be reworked in such a way that the guidelines will not only provide instructions but also ensure that we are doing all we can to help LEAs protect both the student's privacy and the confidentiality of the assessments. We should be sending out instructions next week.

Q: Can I start using the test administration options that were recently provided in issue 100 of the Assessment Spotlight?

A: If an LEA can assess students in person/co-located, then testing may start or continue as long as it is safe to do so. LEAs may use computer-based testing or paper–pencil testing. LEAs need to ensure that they are following all of the guidelines to keep students and test examiners safe. Please check the current guidelines issued by your municipality, county office of education, and county health office and the California Department of Public Health, the CDE, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Q: Could you direct us to the informal assessment identified in the CDE's English Learner Support Division parent letter template just released on the CDE’s Parent Notification web page?

A: To clarify, there is no informal assessment being recommended by the state to determine English language proficiency. LEAs should use their locally determined informal assessments to place their students in English Language Development services while providing distance learning until they are officially tested in person or remotely with the Initial ELPAC.

First Initial ELPAC Student Score Reports Produced for 2020–2021

We are pleased to announce that the Initial ELPAC Student Score Reports (SSRs) are now available in the Test Operations management System! After the first opening day of the computer-based Initial ELPAC on August 20, there were 91 kindergarten SSRs posted. Thanks to the following six LEAs for leading the administration of the computer-based Initial ELPAC:

  • Fontana Unified
  • Lake Elsinore Unified
  • Newman-Crows Landing Unified
  • Ontario-Montclair
  • Riverbank Unified
  • Stanislaus Union Elementary

Now Available! 2020–2021 Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments

The 2020–2021 Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments are now available for administration. Between the three types of interim assessments—Interim Comprehensive Assessments, Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs), and focused IABs—educators can choose from more than 160 interim assessments: approximately 75 for mathematics and 90 for English language arts/literacy.

The following resources are available for more information to assist educators in understanding and deciding which interim assessments to administer:

Register Now! Tools for Teachers Shared Practices Webinar

Calling all California teachers! The CDE will host a Tools for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab. shared practices webinar on September 8, 2020, from 3:30 to 4:45. Educators from two California LEAs will discuss:

  • How they use Tools for Teachers instructional resources

  • Ideas for adapting instructional resources for distance learning

  • How Interim Connections Playlists—a key resource in Tools for Teachers—can be used in conjunction with the IABs to find and fill learning gaps using the formative assessment process

The CDE will provide information on the resources available for using Tools for Teachers and the formative assessment process in the classroom. The webinar will also include a Q&A session.

Registration External link opens in new window or tab. is required, and all registrants will be sent a link for access to the webinar by September 6. For more information about Tools for Teachers and other formative assessment resources, visit the CDE Smarter Balanced Tools for Teachers web page.

September Webinar for the CAA 1 Percent Survey

Calling all LEA CAASPP coordinators! The CDE will host a webinar covering all LEA-related aspects of the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) 1 Percent Survey, including a discussion of resources to support local decisions, on September 16, 2020, at 2 p.m. Also included will be an interactive Q&A session. Register External link opens in new window or tab. in advance for this informative webinar.

CAC Schedule Now Posted!

The schedule of sessions for the virtual 2020 California Assessment Conference (CAC), coming in October, has been posted on the CAC website External link opens in new window or tab.. More than 50 virtual sessions will be available, including prerecorded and live sessions! Register at the website, and you will have access to all of these sessions—including more than 25 shared practice sessions presented by schools and districts throughout California—from the time of the conference through December 31, 2020!

Reminder: Meeting the California High School Science Testing Requirement

Students must take the California Science Test (CAST) or the CAA for Science one time in high school—in grade ten, eleven, or twelve—to meet the state high school science testing requirement. All students who have not met the testing requirement by the time they are enrolled in grade twelve will be automatically registered to take the science assessment.

Looking back, this means that:

  • For the 2019–2020 administration, students in grade ten or eleven met the testing requirement if they—
    • Submitted a completed science test
    • Received a parent and guardian exemption from testing or
    • Were not tested due to a medical emergency
  • For the 2019–2020 administration, students in grade ten or eleven have not met the testing requirement if they—
    • Were registered but did not submit a test or
    • Did not start testing
  • For the 2019–2020 administration, students registered in grade twelve
    • Met the science testing requirement, regardless of whether they submitted the test, started the test, or did not attempt to take the test

Looking ahead:

  • For the 2020–2021 administration, students in grade twelve
    • If repeating grade twelve, they are not eligible to take the CAST or the CAA for Science.
    • If they have not yet met the California high school science testing requirement, they will be automatically registered to take a science test.

For more guidance on how to administer the science assessments in high school, be sure to review the flyer Science Test Administration for High School Students (PDF), which can be found on the CDE’s science web pages, under Test Administration.

Please share this email with any educators in your local educational agency who would be interested in or benefit from this information. To join the email list, send a blank email message to Are you a new subscriber? Visit the CDE Assessment Spotlight web page to find previous issues.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 24, 2020
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