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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 129

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, March 12, 2021.

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..

Upcoming Downtime for CAASPP and ELPAC Systems

System downtime is scheduled for Friday, March 26, at 5 p.m. through Monday, March 29, at 8 a.m., during which the following CAASPP and ELPAC systems will not be available:

  • Test Operations Management System (TOMS)
  • Test Administrator Interface
  • Completion Status 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.

Look to CERS for CAASPP, ELPAC, and Interim Assessment Results!

The California Educator Reporting System (CERS) has become the primary source for local educational agency (LEA) staff to securely view individual and aggregate student results from the CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments and the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments. Since January, the following features have been added to CERS:

  • Aggregate ELPAC composite scores can be displayed.
  • English language arts/literacy (ELA) writing extended response scores are included in the CERS individual student report for teachers.
  • Summative and interim assessment score displays are presented in a consistent color scheme across subjects, and Smarter Balanced and CAST colors are more closely matched with those on the Student Score Reports for parents and guardians.

Starting in late spring, results from the 2020–21 CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments will be sent to CERS on a regular basis. LEA staff will then have access to the latest student results!

Teacher Training—Calibrate Student Scoring to Inform Teaching and Learning

Openings are available for the online 2020–21 Interim Assessment Hand Scoring Calibration Workshop for Teachers—including the remaining March and April workshops for both ELA and mathematics. As participants go through the process of hand scoring Smarter Balanced assessment items, they can deepen their understanding of the content standards, strengthen their evaluation of student work, and use student results to inform teaching and learning.

For details and to register, go the 2020–21 Interim Assessment Hand Scoring Workshop web page External link opens in new window or tab.. For further information, contact Nikki Antonovich, Coordinator, Sacramento County Office of Education, by email at

Please pass this information along to the teachers at your school or district!

2020–21 Test Security Affidavit Guidance for ELPAC and CAASPP

The 2020–21 Test Security Affidavit Guidance for the ELPAC and CAASPP External link opens in new window or tab. has been added to the Spring Administration for Educators web page External link opens in new window or tab. for the ELPAC and CAASPP. The test security affidavits for ELPAC and CAASPP are slightly different, and all affidavits have undergone minor changes to include the single sign-on system, which allows educators to use one username and password to access all assessment systems.

The test security affidavit must be completed in TOMS each year. Without having signed the Test Security Affidavit, test administrators and test examiners will not be able to access secure testing materials. 

Proctors who assist test examiners and test administrators must sign one or both of the following electronic affidavits annually, as appropriate:

LEAs are reminded that they should not print paper versions of test security affidavits.

Alternate ELPAC Field Test Administration Manual Now Available!

We are happy to announce that the online Alternate ELPAC Field Test Administration Manual External link opens in new window or tab. is now available on the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab.! This manual provides an overview of the Alternate ELPAC, sources of support, test security information, guidance on preparing and planning for the administration, an annotated list of frequently used terms, and more! Please note that we are still in the process of developing the test administration section, which will be available by September 2021.

March’s Featured Resource in Tools for Teachers—“Sticky Socks”

Teachers in grade two classrooms can use this month’s Tools for Teachers science instructional resource, “Sticky Socks” External link opens in new window or tab. (account required for full access), to help students build their scientific modeling skills. This hands-on lesson, aligned with the California Next Generation Science Standards, focuses on the Science and Engineering Practice: Developing and Using Models by engaging the students in modeling how animals help with seed dispersal.

Students will readily identify with the experience of getting seeds stuck in one’s socks while walking through weeds, and their familiarity with this occurrence becomes the entry point for students to consider how animals can help plants in the seed dispersal process! Using simple materials such as grass seeds, paper plates, and small carpet squares, students collect and analyze data as they model how a rabbit might carry seeds that get stuck in its fur.

The students also go on a gallery walk, included in this lesson, that uses beautiful images of burr seeds, dandelion seeds, sunflower seeds, and the animals—such as birds and chipmunks—that help disperse these seeds to new locations. Following the gallery walk, students sketch and describe their models to show how an animal might use its body structures to carry seeds.

In its step-by-step directions, “Sticky Socks” includes recommendations for implementing the formative assessment process, suggestions for instructional differentiation, and opportunities for enrichment. The supporting materials include a lab investigation guide and modeling worksheets that allow for student choice. This three-dimensional lesson pairs well with the beautifully illustrated picture book Seeds Move, by Robin Page.

To view this and other kindergarten through grade-five science instructional resources, 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.

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: Tuesday, March 16, 2021
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