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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 119

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, December 18, 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..

CDE Assessment Update Webinar Date Change

The California Department of Education (CDE) Assessment Update Webinar scheduled for January 13th has been rescheduled to January 27th at 2:00 p.m. This is the second Assessment Update Webinar of the 2020-21 series for local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP and ELPAC coordinators. The Assessment Development and Administration Division staff will present the most current assessment information 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.

Considerations and Options for Summative Test Administration

The CDE recognizes the difficulties that local educational agencies (LEAs) and educators are facing this school year. Given the guidance we have received from the US Department of Education that it will not approve statewide assessment waivers for the 2020–21 school year, the CDE is working to provide test administration options that will allow LEAs flexibility to meet the needs of their unique context.

The CDE recommends to LEAs an in-person test administration option—while adhering to state, county, and local health and safety requirements—and a remote test administration option for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and Mathematics, the California Science Test, the California Spanish Assessment, and the Summative ELPAC.

In regard to the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for ELA, mathematics, and science—after a careful review of the necessary requirements for the delivery of the alternate assessments, the CDE recommends in-person test administration, following state, county, and local health and safety requirements, for the provision of these tests. Remote administration is not recommended. By design, alternate assessments are one-on-one test administrations, administered by test examiners who are familiar with the students. The alternate assessments also allow for individualized testing experiences through the use of manipulatives and provide a wide range of specialized accessibility resources that are available on the basis of individual student need. The additional assistive technology supports are not conducive to a remote testing environment and require support from a test examiner. In addition, parents or guardians should not be asked to administer the assessment, as testing regulations do not allow for their participation.

As for the Alternate ELPAC, the CDE is postponing the operational field test to the 2021–22 school year. LEAs will continue to administer their locally determined alternate assessments, following state, county, and local health requirements, for the 2020–21 school year. Additional details regarding the use of locally determined alternate assessments for the students currently designated to take the Alternate ELPAC will be provided in January. Note that if a student’s individualized education program indicates that the student would be administered the Alternate ELPAC operational field test, it is not necessary to conduct an addendum meeting to change the language back to a locally determined alternate assessment.

In preparation for the summative test administration, testing contractor Educational Testing Service will provide updates and written guidance on these recommendations in the test administration manuals. More information will be provided through the series of CAASPP and ELPAC pretest workshops for LEA coordinators in January 2021. For more information or to register for these workshops, visit the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. and the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Your Questions Answered: Summative Assessment Administration

LEA staff preparing to administer the 2020–21 summative assessments have asked:

Q: What are the estimated testing times for the adjusted, shorter testing blueprint for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for ELA and Mathematics?

A: The computer adaptive test (CAT) portion of the blueprint is reduced by approximately 50 percent in each claim. Given that performance tasks (PTs) are designed to be integrated tasks, the blueprints associated with the PTs have not been adjusted. This results in a fifty percent reduction in the time needed to administer the CAT. This means that testing times for combined ELA or mathematics tests have been reduced by between one and a half and two hours across all grade spans.

Q: If the Smarter Balanced tests for ELA and math will be launched in February, will the TOMS [Test Operations Management System] administration windows reflect the date change? How does that impact the instructional completion of 66 percent?

A: This change does not impact the requirement to complete 66 percent of instruction prior to administering the CAASPP. The available testing window shall begin on the day on which 66 percent of the school’s or track’s annual instructional days have been completed, and testing may continue up to and include the last day of instruction for the regular school’s or track’s annual calendar. Considering that the ELA and mathematics assessments will have a later release and additional flexibility may be needed to complete testing, a longer CAASPP test administration window may be needed this administration year. If a CAASPP testing window needs to be changed, please have the LEA coordinator contact the California Technical Assistance Center. Note that ELPAC testing windows are not adjustable.

New Flyer for CAA for Science Test Examiners!

Do you administer the CAA for Science? The CDE and the Sacramento County Office of Education have collaborated to design a new flyer for test examiners, “Tips for Administering the CAA for Science” External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), which is now available on the CAASPP CAAs web page External link opens in new window or tab.!

This handy, one-page resource takes test examiners through quick tips to Plan, Teach, and Administer the four embedded performance tasks throughout the instructional calendar and notes that the four performance tasks can be administered to students in any order and at any time during the year between September and the last day of instruction. The flyer also contains direct links to the Administration Planning Guides External link opens in new window or tab., “Available Resources for the CAA for Science” External link opens in new window or tab., and CAAs External link opens in new window or tab. web pages on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab..

Please help us get the word out about this new flyer by sharing this resource with other test examiners you know who administer the CAA for Science!

Reminder: 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. 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

Visit the 2020–21 CAASPP Planned System Downtime web page External link opens in new window or tab. and 2020–21 ELPAC Planned System Downtime web page External link opens in new window or tab. for information about impacted systems and other scheduled downtimes.

No Assessment Spotlight over Break

The CDE will not be sending the Assessment Spotlight email on December 25, 2020, and January 1, 2021. Watch for the next issue of the Assessment Spotlight on January 8, 2021.

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 | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, December 21, 2020