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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 118

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, December 11, 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. For questions related to test administration, coordination, and trainings, visit the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. and the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

November 2020 CDE Assessment Update Webinar Posted

The video of the California Department of Education (CDE) Assessment Update Webinar is now available on the 2020–21 Training Opportunities web page External link opens in new window or tab. of the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab.. This webinar was the first in the 2020–21 series of Assessment Update Webinars.

Assessment Update Webinar Series Continues Next Month

Local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP and ELPAC coordinators will have another opportunity to hear directly from the CDE on January 13 at 2 p.m. during the second Assessment Update Webinar of the 2020–21 series. The CDE Assessment Division will present an up-to-the-minute assessment update along with a question and answer session. To register for this webinar, which is for all assessment coordinators, go to the CAASPP 2020–21 Training Opportunities web page External link opens in new window or tab. or the ELPAC 2020–21 Training Opportunities web page External link opens in new window or tab., select this event from the listings, and complete the registration.

Upcoming Downtime for CAASPP and ELPAC Systems

Various CAASPP and ELPAC systems are scheduled for downtime from Wednesday, January 6, at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, January 12, at 8 a.m. During the downtime, the following CAASPP and ELPAC systems will not be available:

  • Test Operations Management System
  • Test Administrator Interface
  • Completion Status and Roster Management System
  • Data Entry Interface
  • Interim Assessment Viewing System

More information about impacted systems and other scheduled downtimes is available on the 2020–21 CAASPP Planned System Downtime External link opens in new window or tab. and 2020–21 ELPAC Planned System Downtime External link opens in new window or tab. web pages.

New Information: Smarter Balanced Online Resources Updated

Some of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium online resources have been updated. New information has been added to the Remote Teaching and Learning website External link opens in new window or tab. regarding the use of Smarter Balanced resources during remote instruction. This is available in the Smarter Balanced Resources section, under “Planning and Designing Your Approach to Remote Teaching and Learning,” and includes the following:

  • Information about using the Sample Items website with students during remote instruction.
  • Recommendations for using the new Smarter Annotated Response Tool to understand how student writing is scored on Smarter Balanced assessments.
  • Information on how to use the Interim Assessment Item Portal (LEA account required) to tailor instructional content covered by an interim assessment. The Interim Assessment Item Portal also has been updated to provide the options to download braille files in bulk, print the text of translated glossaries for mathematics, and print answer keys separately from the interim assessment items.

December’s Featured Resource in Tools for Teachers—“Little Bear Mountain”

High school students engage in solving multistep, real-life problems in this month’s Tools for Teachers mathematics instructional resource, “Little Bear Mountain” External link opens in new window or tab. (account required for full access). The engaging and timely wintertime performance task activities in this resource have students participate in scenarios in which they help a ski resort rate the difficulty of its ski slopes, find the lengths of ski paths, plan for cabin building, detect the heights of ski hills, and determine the distance to a neighboring ski resort.

The rigorous challenges in this resource start with a problem statement given to the students about a popular ski resort that had to shut down for three days because of a major storm. When the ski patrol returns to the resort, all the ski slope rating signs are gone and the computer is down. Students are given a map and a set of scenarios with problems that require interactions with data, equations, and graphs. They can solve them individually, with a partner, or in teams.

Students break apart right triangles, explain their thinking using trigonometric ratios, and use the Pythagorean theorem while engaging in the problem-solving activities that can be implemented for both in-person and distance learning. The step-by-step directions for teachers include recommendations for lesson preparation and instructional differentiation strategies for providing support and extending the lesson on the basis of individual students’ needs. Supporting materials are provided with an external link to the ski resort map in the popular Desmos calculator web application.

“Little Bear Mountain” is included in the high school mathematics Interim Assessment Connections Playlist “Geometry and Right Triangle Geometry,” which consists of resources that help teachers provide instruction in the content assessed on the “Geometry and Right Triangle Geometry” Focused Interim Assessment Block. To view instructional resources and Connections Playlists, LEA staff members need a Tools for Teachers account External link opens in new window or tab., which they can obtain either through self-registration or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

California Spanish Assessment—Upcoming Item Writer Workshop

Are you interested in a valuable California Spanish Assessment (CSA) professional development opportunity? Join us in the spring for an Item Writer Workshop, hosted by Educational Testing Service! At this workshop, which will be held March 30–April 1, you will learn how to write effective test items and be provided with the opportunity to begin writing items that may be used in future administrations of the CSA. For information on registering for this event, go to the Opportunities to Get Involved web page External link opens in new window or tab. on the CAASPP website. Please be sure to apply as soon as possible for this event!

Please share this email with any educators in your LEA 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, December 14, 2020