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CAA for Science Administration Research Files

These research files contain the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science 2020–21 administration, 2018–19 field test, and 2017–18 year-two pilot results.

Preliminary indicators offer a general indication of student content knowledge. They include a percent of items answered correctly and an indicator category. Preliminary indicators provide a broad and early indication about a local educational agency’s (LEA’s) implementation of the alternate assessment science standards. They should be used in conjunction with other information available at the LEA, as preliminary indicators are not precise enough to stand on their own. It is not recommended that preliminary indicators be used for any high-stake purposes. More information about the indicators can be found in our Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit web page.

The research files listed below contain the CAA for Science 2020–21 administration, 2018–19 field test, and 2017–18 year-two pilot results. These files are intended for use in customized reports and for data analyses by educators or researchers. Due to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, school closures, and the approved federal waiver of testing and reporting requirements from the U.S. Department of Education, many students did not complete testing in 2019–20. As a result, the California Department of Education did not report aggregate or summary results for the 2019–20 administration.

Downloading CAA for Science Research Files

Use of these research files requires some expertise in the handling of data and advanced data management skills. Many of the district and county research files are very large (up to 130MB) and maybe too large for spreadsheet applications. Database applications such as Microsoft Access, Statistical Analysis System (SAS), or Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) are required to manage these files. The file size is indicated in parentheses and is shown only when the size is greater than one megabyte.

File Layouts for the CAA for Science Preliminary Indicators

Entities File Layout 2020–21
Research File Layout 2020–21
Student Group IDs File Layout 2020–21

Entities File Layout 2017–19
Research File Layout 2017–19
Demographics File Layout 2017–19

Support Files

Entities 2020–21 (ZIP), Entities 2018–19 (ZIP), and Entities 2017–18 (ZIP) files are comprised of the state, counties, districts, and schools in California. Because these files are both school-level and district summary records as well as county and state summary records, it is critical that in any analysis, a “Type ID” record type (e.g., state, county, district level) be selected. This will help avoid the double or triple-counting that will occur when a school count is also counted in the associated district record.

Access Data Shell 2020–21 (ZIP), Access Data Shell 2018–19 (ZIP), and Access Data Shell 2017–18 (ZIP) database “shell” are alternative data review applications. Once downloaded to the target computer, this application provides powerful school, district, County-District-School (CDS), and ZIP code search capability as well as a formatted report containing all the data for the selected entity. This Microsoft Access 2007 shell contains all entity data and is designed to import any of the selected state, county, or district comma delimited files. In order to use the shell, Microsoft Access 2007 must already be installed on your computer.

Getting Accurate Results from the Research Files

Achieving accurate results when working with these research files requires an understanding of the structure and content of the two primary files: the entities file and the test data file. The research files have many rows for each entity. Records are available for each combination of grades, tests, and student groups. This means that there are hundreds to thousands of records for each entity, with an average of approximately 900 records. In order to effectively work with the data, you must use constraints to limit the data you are reporting. These constraints are discussed below.

Data Files

2020–21 CAA for Science—Statewide and Counties

2018–19 CAA for Science, Field Test—Statewide and Counties

2017–18 CAA for Science, Year Two Pilot—Statewide and Counties

A research file is comprised of the school, district, county, and state aggregate results. The information in the research file includes the total student enrolled and the total number of students who were tested, as well as the preliminary indicators (i.e., mean percent correct and percentage of students in an indicator category). To accurately analyze and report from these research files, the appropriate constraints must be applied to the following elements:

  • CDS code: The research files contain summary district and county records. A district summary record will have a "school" code of "0000000." When working with the file, be sure to include county, district, and school codes. Failure to include all three data codes will result in double-counting in any summary calculations.

  • Subgroup ID: Each student will be included in both the "All Students" student group aggregation and each of the appropriate student group aggregations. Consequently, an individual student group must be selected to avoid duplicate counts. For Subgroup ID code, refer to the CAA for Science Demographic File Layout.

Providing accurate and meaningful reports from the research files generally requires the "linking" of the Entities and Test Data tables. Additional efforts might include linking to the "lookup" tables. Working with these tables requires an understanding of "relational" data tables and their manipulation.

Additional Resources

CAA for Science web page
Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS) web page
Science Connectors for Alternate Assessments (DOCX)

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 7, 2022
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