June 30, 2016
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Marks Successful Completion of CAASPP Testing
SACRAMENTO— Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that more than 3.2 million students have completed the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), the state's computer-based, online assessments given in grades three through eight and eleven.
The total number of students taking part in summative Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics has already set state records, with 350,606 students testing simultaneously on May 3 alone. A small number of school districts, however, will continue to conduct testing through July.
"Measuring the academic progress of more than 3 million students in 10,000 schools with one common yardstick is a daunting challenge, but our teachers, principals, administrators, and school employees rose to meet it," Torlakson said. "Their hard work—and the California Department of Education staff —will help schools improve teaching and learning and in turn, help more students graduate ready for college and 21st century careers."
The smooth second operational year of CAASPP allowed individual districts and schools to access online results within three weeks of testing—much earlier than last year. Statewide and other aggregate results will be tabulated and released around the end of August.
"These tests were created specifically to gauge each student's performance as they develop—grade by grade—the skills called for by the state's more rigorous academic standards, including the ability to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems," Torlakson said. "No single assessment can provide teachers with all the feedback they need to tailor instruction to meet the needs of their students, but CAASPP represents an important indicator of progress toward career and college readiness."
Still, Torlakson noted that assessments are sources of information—not an end in themselves. As such, CDE is working with teachers, parents, and others to provide and improve educational tools to help schools analyze test results and other measures of student performance to improve instruction and learning.
Along with optional interim tests and a digital library of resources for educators to use throughout the year, CDE has created new Assessment Target Reports, which allow teachers to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of groups of students within specific parts of a tested subject by grade level.
In addition, CDE is collaborating with teachers and the non-profit research organization WestEd to develop teacher guides for the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
CDE also held a series of professional development sessions to assist districts with test administration and planning. Educational Testing Service, which administers CAASPP on the state's behalf, held post-test workshops around the state focusing on options for incorporating assessment results into ongoing efforts to improve learning and student achievement.
CDE has also taken steps to provide parents with better information about test results, including revising individual student score reports to make them more reader-friendly and developing Starting Smarter [https://startingsmarter.org/] , a new website with detailed information about state assessments.
California moved to new, online, computer-adaptive assessments last year based on more rigorous academic standards, part of a comprehensive plan to give every student the opportunity to graduate ready for college and to pursue a career.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100