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California Alternate Assessment for Science

California’s statewide science alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

Program Overview

The California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is a part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. The purpose of the CAA for Science is to measure what students know and can do in science, which helps identify and address gaps in knowledge or skills early so students can receive the support they need.

Only eligible students may participate in the administration of the CAA for Science. Individualized education program (IEP) teams “shall determine when a child with the most significant cognitive disability shall participate in an alternate assessment aligned with the alternate academic achievement standards.” (Title 1, Part A, Subpart 1, Sec. 1111(b)(2)(D)(ii)(I)—Every Student Succeeds Act, 2015). Any student identified for alternate testing takes the alternate version of all assessments.

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). It is aligned with alternate achievement standards—called the Science Core Content Connectors—which are linked to the performance expectations from the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS).

The following links provide additional information about the program:

Resources and Communication Materials

Test Administration

Scores and Results Reporting

Laws, Regulations, and Requirements

Technical Documents

  • CAA for Science Blueprint (DOCX) directs how the CAA for Science test forms are assembled. Similar to the California Science Test (CAST), the CAA for Science takes into account the three-dimensional interrelationships of the CA NGSS Performance Expectations and the integration of the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts.

  • Preliminary Science Core Content Connectors and Essential Understandings (DOCX) provides a complete list of the Science Connectors, which are aligned with the CA NGSS Performance Expectations.

  • CAA for Science Item Content Specifications web page provides information about the available CAA for Science item content specifications, which describe how CAA for Science items are developed to assess the alternate standards derived from the CA NGSS. One CAA for Science item content specification was written for each of the 84 Science Connectors (i.e., 23 for grade five; 28 for grade eight; and 33 for high school) that will be assessed on the CAA for Science over a five-year period.

  • NGSS for California Public Schools, K-12 web page provides the CA NGSS adopted by the California State Board of Education in September 2013.

  • 2016 Science Framework web page provides the 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools, which has been designed to be accessible to assistive technologies.

  • CAASPP Technical and Research Reports web page provides technical reports pertaining to the CAA for Science as well as other assessment programs.
Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Friday, October 8, 2021
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