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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 System. The purpose of the CAA for Science is to measure what students know and can do in science. These measures help 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. Any student identified for alternate testing takes the alternate version of all assessments. The CAA for Science is administered to students in grades five, eight, and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve). 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)

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

The following links provide additional information about the program:

  • CAASPP—CalEdFacts web page provides a more detailed overview of the tests.
  • Assessment System Chart (PDF) lists the tests of the 2020–21 California assessment system by subject content, test name, test type, student participant groups, grade levels, and testing window timeframe.
  • California Assessment Timeline (PDF) presents the assessment administration timeline for the 2020–21, 2021–22, and 2022–23 school years.

Resources and Communication Materials

Science: It's Elementary!

Talking to Parents About the CAA (PPTX; 14MB)

Resources for Communicating with Parents

CAA for Science–Assessment Fact Sheet (PDF)

2019–2020 California Student Assessment Accessibility for Science (PDF)

Guidance for IEP teams

Alternate Assessment Decision Confirmation Worksheet (PDF)

Practice and Training Embedded Performance Tasks External link opens in new window or tab.

Available CAA for Science Resources flyer (PDF)

Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit provides resources, including key messages, a reporting timeline, transition to operational status, frequently asked questions, letter templates for LEAs, and other tools to assist LEAs in providing information about the preliminary indicators for the science assessments to educators, parents and guardians, and other stakeholders.

Test Administration

CAA for Science Administration Research Files

Test Administration Coordination Site External link opens in new window or tab.

CAA Test Examiner Tutorial (Video) External link opens in new window or tab.

Science Test Administration for High School Students (PDF)

Student Accessibility Resources

Scores and Results Reporting

CAA for Science, Administration Research Files provide the aggregated results for the 2018–19 field test and the 2017–18 year two pilot test, which are reported by the state, county, LEA, and school levels as well as by student groups. The research files are intended for use by educators or researchers to perform analyses and prepare customized reports. Caution should be used when interpreting the preliminary indicator results, given that these results are from an assessment that was not operational.

Reporting Science Assessments Results—2018–19 Timeline provides LEAs, schools, and other stakeholders with a timeline for reporting the science results to parents/guardians and the public.

Laws, Regulations, and Requirements

California Education Code Section 60640 External link opens in new window or tab.

Federal Listening/Speaking Waiver (PDF)

CAASPP Regulations (DOC)

Apportionment reimbursements to LEAs

Technical Documents

CAA for Science Blueprint (DOCX)

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.

Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS)

California Science Curriculum Framework

CAASPP Technical and Research Reports

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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