Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Assessment Spotlight, Issue 181

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, April 8, 2022.

Focusing on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (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..

New Tool Offers User-Friendly Way to Get Answers!

Get Answers is a new, user-friendly tool to help local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP and ELPAC coordinators get answers quickly to the most commonly asked testing questions. This tool functions similarly to other search engines, allowing users to use key words to narrow or expand a search and quickly scan information. The tool incorporates information previously found in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the CAASPP and ELPAC websites as well as many new commonly asked questions. Please go to the Get Answers web page External link opens in new window or tab. for more information! Users can also go to the Additional Questions for FAQ web page External link opens in new window or tab. to suggest new questions to be included in the tool.

Although the questions found in Get Answers generally are geared toward LEA coordinators, anyone can use this tool. Save time and get answers to questions immediately with this self-service tool!

CAASPP Question of the Week

Are local assessments still an option this year?

No. Local assessments are not an option for statewide testing this year. The option to use a local assessment that met the criteria established by the California State Board of Education in March of last year was a flexibility offered for the 2020–21 administration only. That flexibility was offered last year to support LEAs in their administration of English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics assessments in situations where the administration of the Smarter Balanced summative assessments was not viable because of pandemic-related factors. This year, all LEAs are required to administer the summative ELA, mathematics, and science assessments.

Focus on Test Security—What Happens After I Submit My STAIRS Appeal?

When you submit an Appeal as part of reporting an incident in the Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System (STAIRS), and it is approved, the following takes place:

  • If the case required a Reopen Appeal, the student(s) may resume testing. Expired tests will resume at the last unanswered item on the test. This could, in some cases, be different than where the student left off; for example, if the student went back to review prior items.
  • If the case required a Reset Appeal, the test has been removed from the system and the student(s) will start a new test from the beginning. Please ensure that the test assignment and test settings are accurate before allowing the student(s) to start a new test.
  • If the case required a Grace Period Extension Appeal, the student(s) may return to prior pages (i.e., screens) within the existing segment. A student may not return to a previous segment once it has been completed and submitted.
  • If the case required an Invalidate Appeal, the score(s) will be invalidated; invalidated scores will be reported with a text notation on the Student Score Report. The student(s) will be counted as having participated in the calculation of the school’s participation rate.

If you submit an Appeal that is denied for an administrative reason—for example, because you filed the wrong type of Appeal, such as a request to reset instead of reopen—you should refile using the correct type.

Communicating with the California Department of Education about a pending STAIRS case can be accomplished by using the Notes feature in STAIRS. To submit a note or comment or to read the notes and responses associated with a case, take the following steps:

  • Search and open the STAIRS case.
  • Select the Notes tab.

You will be notified by email when there is a reply to your comment.

Find more information about STAIRS and Appeals in the STAIRS User Guide External link opens in new window or tab..

April’s Featured Tools for Teachers Resource—Travel Machine

Imagine finding a travel machine that magically transports everyone to Egypt! In this month’s featured Tools for Teachers instructional resource, Travel Machine (account required), students in grade seven envision this scenario as they learn how to spice up their writing with figurative and sensory language. To create an account, please visit the Travel Machine web page External link opens in new window or tab. (account required). Drawing from their own experiences, group discussion, and/or images gathered from online research, the students show what they know about Egypt while composing a narrative text. They use the information they have learned to add descriptive details and incorporate the five elements of a story—plot, character, conflict, theme, and setting.

During lesson activities, each student creates a visual map that helps them develop the plot for their narrative. The students then share their maps with a partner and use the formative assessment strategy of peer-to-peer feedback to check the story elements and help plan the descriptive details that will be added during the writing process. Included in the lesson materials is a modified visual map for students who may need additional support. Similarly, sentence starters are provided for students whose writing requires further guidance. For above grade-level writing, the handout “Stay Away from Common Words” is included as an extension activity to improve the quality of their writing.

“Travel Machine” is part of two Interim Assessment Connections Playlists for grade seven—the Performance Task and Language and Vocabulary Use. Each playlist consists of resources that help teachers provide instruction in the content assessed on the corresponding 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 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 California Department of Education Assessment Spotlight web page to find previous issues.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Recently Posted in Testing