Charter School FAQ Section 6Frequently asked questions regarding charter school testing and accountability.
Responses to these frequently asked questions are advisory only. Charter schools and charter authorizers are encouraged to review the actual laws and regulations that provide the basis for these responses and consult with their own legal counsel regarding the application of any of these issues to a specific situation.
Testing and Accountability
1. Can a charter school require each student to participate in state testing?
Charter school pupils are required to participate in all statewide assessments that are applicable to pupils in noncharter schools. Parents have the right to waive, under specified conditions, state testing requirements for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. A charter school cannot disregard or take away this parental right. Further information regarding this matter is available at CAASPP System.
2. Is there flexibility for how a charter school administers the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System?
No. Charter schools are required by California Education Code Section 47605(d) to administer these tests following the same procedures and requirements for test administration as required of noncharter schools.
3. What responsibilities does a charter school have to identify students as English learners?
During initial enrollment in a California public school, parents or guardians of all students are required to complete a Home Language Survey (HLS) comprised of four questions. When the HLS indicates a language other than English, the student’s English language proficiency is determined using the California English Language Development Test which is administered within 30 calendar days of school enrollment. During initial enrollment, students identified as English learners are further assessed in their primary language to determine proficiencies in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Results of each student’s assessments are to be sent to parents or guardians in a language they understand. Final results of students’ designation and English proficiencies are reported annually to the state for each school on the school’s language census.
4. What other assessments are charter school students required to take?
As part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System, students are required to complete the Smarter Balanced assessments listed below:
- The Smart Balanced Summative Assessments (PDF)
- The California Science Test (PDF)
- The California Alternate Assessments (PDF)
- The California Spanish Assessment (PDF)
Students whose first language is other than English, as determined on the Home Language Survey, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California annually until deemed English language proficient. Information regarding this assessment is available on The English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (PDF).
Students are also required to take formative assessments given by their teachers or school site. A formative assessment is a deliberate process used by teachers with students during instruction that provides actionable feedback that is used to adjust teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ attainment of learning targets and goals. Formative assessment is a process, not a test. More information regarding these assessments is available at Formative Assessment and Tools for Teachers FAQs.
California also requires that students participate in the annual physical fitness assessments. More information can be found on The California Physical Fitness Test and FITNESSGRAM (PDF).