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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 56

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 7, 2019.

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

Downtime for CAASPP and ELPAC Online System Components

All components of the CAASPP and ELPAC online assessments will be unavailable from Tuesday, August 27, at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, September 3, at 8 a.m. for a scheduled downtime to transition to the 2019–20 school year.

Following this downtime, both the CAASPP and the ELPAC programs will be managed through the same Test Operations Management System. In addition, the new single sign-on feature will be implemented, which will allow users access to all components available on the CAASPP Portal External link opens in new window or tab. or ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab. after entering their logon credentials a single time. These changes will impact all CAASPP and ELPAC online assessment systems, including the Digital Library.

For actions and information to consider before, during, and after the system downtime, refer to the information in the email sent to local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinators on July 17 with the subject line, “CAASPP: Preparing to Transition to the 2019–20 Administration” External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

NEW! Interim Assessment Reporting System Sandbox Training Tool

To assist LEA staff with learning how to use the Interim Assessment Reporting System (IARS), Smarter Balanced has launched an exciting new resource called the “Sandbox.” This training tool, developed to help educators become familiar with the features and functions of the IARS in a nonsecure environment, features virtually the same functions as the IARS, but uses practice test items and fictitious student data. It can be used individually or in a group training environment.

Because the Sandbox does not contain any secure information, no logon credentials are needed to access it. Users simply go to the Sandbox website External link opens in new window or tab. and select a role, such as teacher, school administrator, or district administrator, to enter the Sandbox and view it from the perspective of that role. Users also can access the tool through the CAASPP Portal Interim Assessment Administration Resources web page External link opens in new window or tab..

August’s Featured Digital Library Resource: “Get in Order! Using Transition Words in Narrative Writing”

Educators looking for a creative way to help students improve their writing will enjoy this grade three English language arts/literacy resource, “Get in Order! Using Transition Words in Narrative Writing” External link opens in new window or tab. (Digital Library account required). In this lesson, students are given an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of transitional strategies in narrative writing and use graphic organizers, a rubric, an engaging video link, a word bank, and additional ready-to-use ideas.

The lesson begins with students reading “tall tales,” and then completing activities that build mastery of transition words by using those words to signal the flow of events in their writing. The students move from a surface level of learning to a transfer level, with a culminating two- or three-paragraph tall tale of their own. To help differentiate the lesson to meet the needs of individual learners in the classroom, an “If-Then” instructional planning guide is included.

This resource is one of the many provided in the Digital Library that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for narrative writing. To access this resource and for more information about the 3,000+ other instructional and professional learning Digital Library resources available for educators, visit the Smarter Balanced Digital Library External link opens in new window or tab. (Digital Library account required).

2018–19 Science Assessment Scores: When Will They Be Released?

The 2018–19 results for the first operational California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science field test will be released to LEAs in January 2020—with the CAST scores contingent on the California State Board of Education approving the proposed CAST threshold scores in November 2019.

To prepare for the release of the CAST scores, LEAs and school sites can refer to the CAST—Key Messages web page, which will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. In addition, the Reporting Science Assessments Results—2018–19 Time Line provides a tentative time line for LEAs, parents/guardians, and the public to receive the 2018–19 science assessment results. The Science Assessment—Transition to Operational Status provides information about reporting student results for the CAST and the CAA for Science.

Reminder: The reported 2018–19 CAA for Science field test results will be preliminary indicators (i.e., percent correct and indicator categories). Therefore, updates have been made to the Preliminary Indicator Communications Toolkit web page, which provides links to various LEA resources, such as key messages for the CAA for Science, a frequently asked questions web page, and parent/guardian letter templates.

Training Opportunity for New LEA Coordinators

LEA coordinators new to their role are encouraged to attend an in-person training that will take place this month right before the annual Assessment Information Meeting (also called North-South). Developed specifically for coordinators who manage the overall CAASPP and/or ELPAC testing process for their site or LEA, this training will provide the most current information about California’s assessment systems and review the events and activities required each month to perform all coordinator roles and responsibilities successfully. Coordinators who have not yet registered can visit the registration site External link opens in new window or tab. today to find all the details and reserve a spot!

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 19, 2019
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