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CAASPP Description - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System was established on January 1, 2014. The CAASPP System replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program, which became inoperative on July 1, 2013.

The CAASPP System encompasses the following assessments and student participation requirements. Information about the content and format of each test is also provided.

Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics in grades three through eight and grade eleven.

Student Participation: All students at the designated grade levels are required to participate with the following exceptions:

  • Students who participate in the alternate assessments.
  • ELA only—English learners who are in their first 12 months of attending a school in the United States.

Content and Format: The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which are delivered by computer, consist of two sections: a computer adaptive test and a performance task (PT) based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and mathematics. The computer adaptive section includes a range of item types, such as selected response, constructed response, table, fill-in, graphing, and so forth. The PTs are extended activities that measure a student’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple standards—a key component of college and career readiness.

California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for ELA and mathematics in grades three through eight and grade eleven.

Student Participation: Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments even with accessibility supports and whose individualized education program (IEP) indicates assessment with an alternate test.

Content and Format: The content of the alternate assessment is based on alternate achievement standards derived from the CCSS for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The CAAs are computer-based two-stage adaptive tests. They are administered to students in a one-on-one environment by a test examiner who is familiar with the student. More information about the alternate assessments and the alternate achievement standards can be found on the CDE CAASPP California Alternate Assessments web page

California Science Test (CAST) in grades five, eight, and once in high school.

Student Participation: The CAST is required for all students in grades five and eight and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve) unless their IEP indicates assessment with an alternate test. The CAST includes stand-alone or discrete items and PTs. The discrete item types consist of selected response, constructed response, table, fill-in, graphing, and so forth. The PTs measure a student’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple standards through extended activities.

Content and Format: The CAST is aligned with the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). The California State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the CA NGSS in September 2013. The CAST census field test took place in 2018, and the first operational test was administered in 2019. The 2020 CAST is the second operational administration of the test.

California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science in grades five, eight, and once in high school.

Student Participation: The CAA for Science is required for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take the CAST even with accessibility supports and whose IEP indicates assessment with an alternate test. The CAA for Science is administered to students in grades five and eight and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve).

Content and Format: The content of the alternate assessment is based on alternate achievement standards derived from the CA NGSS. The CAA for Science is administered to students in a one-on-one environment by a test examiner who is familiar with the student. In 2018, the pilot year two consisted of three embedded PTs; in 2019, the CAA for Science field test consisted of three embedded PTs administered online; and in 2020, the operational assessment was administered for the first time. The CAA for Science embedded PTs may be administered anytime during the school’s instructional calendar.

California Spanish Assessment (CSA) for Spanish language arts in grades three through eight and high school (optional)

Student Participation: The CSA is an optional language test in Spanish for students who are seeking a measure to recognize their Spanish-specific reading, writing mechanics, and listening skills, regardless of their current enrollment in Spanish instruction.

Content and Format: The CSA is aligned with the CCSS en Español. The SBE adopted the CSA test blueprint in November 2017. The pilot test was administered in fall 2017, the field test was administered in fall 2018, and the first operational CSA was administered in spring 2019. The CSA is a computer-based assessment that has accessibility resources for students. It includes technology-enhanced items.

For more information regarding the CAASPP System, contact the CAASPP Office by phone at 916-445-8765 or by email at caaspp@cde.ca.gov. Information is also available on the CDE CAASPP web page.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 24, 2020
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