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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 155

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, September 10, 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..

Register for Lexile and Quantile Trainings!

Mark your calendar for two virtual trainings, coming later this year, to learn more about the Lexile and Quantile measures and the tools and resources available in the Lexile & Quantile Hub External link opens in new window or tab.:

As a Test Operations Management System (TOMS) user, you already have logon credentials for the Lexile & Quantile Hub External link opens in new window or tab. as part of the single sign-on system. TOMS users can access the Hub through the [LINKS] tab in TOMS.

We hope to see you and your fellow educators at these trainings!

Focus Group Opportunities for Charter School Coordinators

If you are a charter school assessment coordinator, we want to hear from you!

The California Department of Education (CDE) is committed to supporting all assessment professionals across the state and recognizes that charter local educational agencies (LEAs) tend to be smaller and have fewer staff dedicated to coordinating assessment efforts than non-charter LEAs. To reinforce communication channels and support networks for new and existing charter school assessment coordinators, the CDE has partnered with the Sacramento County Office of Education to launch a charter school outreach plan.

Your input on this effort would be greatly valued and appreciated. Please consider signing up for one of the focus groups we have planned for this fall. For more information, email us at

Progress! Use of Stopping Markers on Initial ELPAC Improving

We have great news! Initial ELPAC data from July and August shows that more test examiners are correctly exiting students at the stopping markers! However, because some students continue to be exited incorrectly at the stopping markers, we ask that LEA ELPAC coordinators remind test examiners to carefully read the Directions for Administration (DFAs), which are available in TOMS, for the guidance and information they need to determine when it is appropriate to exit a student from the assessment. Following the guidance ensures the accuracy of students’ Initial ELPAC results, which ultimately impacts their classification and the level of support services they receive, if needed. The stopping marker language has been revised in the DFAs and Test Delivery System to provide test examiners with clarification.

LEAs with students who have been exited from the assessment early will receive a communication from Educational Testing Service (ETS) that includes a list of identified students who were exited incorrectly. LEAs can then submit a Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System incident in TOMS to reopen the test so students can complete the remainder of the test and receive an accurate measure of their English language proficiency for the affected domain.

ELPAC Question of the Week

Q: For the 2021–22 school year, if a student takes the Alternate ELPAC field test between November 1 and February 15, does the student also need to take a locally determined alternate initial and locally determined alternate summative?

A: Students who are identified as needing an alternate assessment on the basis of their individualized education program (IEP) upon entry into a California public school will use a locally determined alternate assessment for the Initial ELPAC through June 30, 2022, and LEAs will need to mark the domain in TOMS accordingly for each affected domain. The Initial Alternate ELPAC will be operational in July 2022.

English learner students who are identified as needing an alternate assessment for the annual or summative English language proficiency assessment on the basis of their IEP will take the Alternate ELPAC Operational Field Test and indicate this test assignment in TOMS. This will meet the requirements for testing English learner students this year. There will be no locally determined alternate assessments allowed in place of the Summative ELPAC in 2021–22.

September’s Featured Tools for Teachers Resource—Using Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Connections Playlists

New! The professional learning resource Using Smarter Balanced Interim Connections Playlists External link opens in new window or tab. in Tools for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab. (account required) offers engaging ways to learn about Interim Assessment Connections Playlists and strategies for incorporating these resources into daily instruction. Educators with all levels of familiarity can learn more about these grouped instructional resources (i.e., lesson plans) that focus on the content standards of specific Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks (IABs).

While this professional learning resource is designed for use in a professional learning community, with a facilitator to guide a team of educators through a set of activities, educators also can use it for individual learning. In conjunction with a video and video guide, this resource presents formative assessment strategies such as “Write, Pass, Discuss” and “Graffiti Boards” to accomplish the following:

  • Elicit prior knowledge about Connections Playlists and IABs.
  • Present key foundational information about Connections Playlists and IABs.
  • Reflect on key takeaways.
  • Plan next steps to apply learning to the role of an educator.

To view this resource and many other professional learning and instructional resources to support instruction in English language arts/literacy, mathematics, and science, LEA staff need a Tools for Teachers account, which they can obtain either through self-registration or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

Webinar Reminder: Supporting English Learners with Tools for Teachers

Join us on September 21 at 3:30 p.m. for the one-hour webinar Supporting English Learners with the Tools for Teachers Website to learn new ways to provide support to English learner students! This webinar for classroom educators may also be of interest to LEA administrators, who may find it useful to further support educators locally.

You will learn about the instructional resources available on the Smarter Balanced Tools for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab. website and how to connect them to the California English Language Development Standards (PDF). The presentations will be made by CDE staff and a California English language development teacher, and attendees will have an opportunity to ask their questions about the Tools for Teachers resources.

This webinar kicks off the Tools for Teachers Shared Practices Webinar Series for 2021–22, which also includes the following:

  • Using Interim Assessment Data and Tools for Teachers to Support Instruction
    October 5, 2–3 p.m.
  • Making Elementary Science Sizzle with Tools for Teachers
    November 9, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
  • Tools for Teachers and Other Formative Assessment Resources at Your Fingertips
    January 25, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
  • A Teacher’s Best Kept Secret: Interim Assessments and Tools for Teachers
    March 1, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Registration for “Supporting English Learners with the Tools for Teachers Website” is now open. Go to the CAASPP Training Opportunities web page External link opens in new window or tab. and register today!

If you have questions regarding this webinar, contact the California Outreach Team by email at

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, September 13, 2021
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