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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 78

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, January 30, 2020.

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

Release of New Smarter Balanced Sample Items and Annotated Anchors Next Week

On Thursday, February 6, Smarter Balanced will release more than 100 new items on the Smarter Balanced Sample Items website External link opens in new window or tab. as well as new annotated anchors for the English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessment.

This will be the first release of operational test questions from the summative assessments and will highlight the critical role educators serve in item development and the rigorous process used to create high-quality items. As a result, the Smarter Balanced Sample Items website will be unavailable on February 4 and 5 to prepare the website for the release of new sample items and scoring rubrics. A handout on the sample items release along with other communications materials for educators and stakeholders also will be made available on February 6.

A total of seven annotated anchors also will be released, one for each grade level for grades three through eight and grade eleven. These annotated anchors provide students and educators the opportunity to review a variety of student responses to the writing extended response items alongside scorer annotations that connect the student response to the scoring rubric. The anchors serve as a valuable resource for educators looking to better understand the performance task items and scoring while also supporting students in the critical skills of self-evaluation and extended response writing.

The ELA annotated anchors can be found on the Smarter Balanced website, under the Practice Tests and Sample Questions tab External link opens in new window or tab.. The Smarter Balanced sample items can be found on the Smarter Balanced Sample Items website External link opens in new window or tab..

Now Available: 2019–2020 Interim Assessment User Guide

The CAASPP 2019–2020 Interim Assessment User Guide External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) is now available. The guide provides instructions for local educational agency (LEA) staff using the interim assessment online systems, including the following:

  • Viewing System
  • Test Delivery System
  • Hand Scoring System
  • California Educator Reporting System (CERS)
  • CERS Sandbox Training Tool

A “What’s New” section has been added to the beginning of the guide as well as relevant sections throughout that highlight key changes from last year’s version.

ELPAC––Fee-based Services Coming Soon!

The 2019–20 Summative ELPAC fee-based services will be available soon on the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab.. Fee-based services External link opens in new window or tab. will include the following:

  • Rescoring student responses
  • Scoring Answer Books returned late
  • Paper Student Score Reports
  • Special handling of electronic Student Score Report files
  • Printing and shipping of Directions for Administration

For LEAs choosing to print the secure Directions for Administration (DFAs), the secure DFAs must be downloaded onto a jump drive and brought to the LEAs print shop.The LEA must have a dedicated staff member and a print shop staff member sign the non-TOMS user security affidavits. Upon completion, the LEA staff member must ensure that all files have been removed from the print shops systems and jump drive.

Reminders: Have you had the chance to familiarize your students with the new computer-based ELPAC? If not, now is a great time to start! The ELPAC practice and training tests are available located on the home page of the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab. . This resource can be used in standardized and non-standardized settings meaning that teachers can administer the practice and training tests with students in a group setting or students can take them independently. Please note that scoring guides are available for the ELPAC practice tests on the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Did you know? This year, grade two is administered in a one-on-one setting, however, the Writing domain may be administered in small groups of up to 10 students. Groups larger than 10 students require a proctor.

Constructed-Response Items for the California Spanish Assessment Coming Soon!

We are excited to announce that California Spanish Assessment (CSA) optional constructed-response items will be available for LEA’s on Friday, January 31, 2020! These optional constructed response items are independent of the CSA, and can be used to collect more information about students’ Spanish writing skills. These items are intended to be locally scored. Each grade and grade spans’ constructed response material will be located in the Test Operations Management System External link opens in new window or tab. (secure logon required) and accompanied by the following materials:

  • Student materials—constructed-response prompt and its stimulus, where appropriate
  • Introduction and calibration materials—a set of pre-scored responses to use for training prior to scoring
  • Training and scoring materials—the constructed-response prompt, its stimulus, where appropriate, the scoring guide (rubric), and a brief training activity
  • Check set materials—for use with the training and scoring materials referenced above

For questions about the constructed-response materials, please contact the California Technical Assistance Center by phone at 800-955-2954 or by email at

Alternate Assessments

The Item Writer Workshop for the California Alternate Assessments will be held February 25–27, 2020. We continue to seek out qualified educators to develop items for the upcoming Alternate ELPAC. Please visit the “Get Involved” tab on the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab. to learn more about this exciting professional development opportunity and register for the workshop.

All About Accessibility

The medical device non-embedded designated support is now called medical supports. Students may have access to medical supports for medical purposes. The medical support may include cell phone, and should only support the student during testing for medical reasons. Educators should follow local policies regarding medical supports and ensure students’ health is the highest priority. Device settings must restrict access to other applications or the test administrator must closely monitor the use of the device to maintain test security. More information on this designated support can be found in Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium: Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), available on the Smarter Balanced website External link opens in new window or tab..

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, February 3, 2020
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