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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. 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.
  • California Assessment Timeline (PDF) presents the assessment administration timeline for the 2018–19 and 2019–20 school years.
  • Assessment System Chart (PDF) lists the tests of the 2018–19 California assessment system by subject content, test name, test type, student participant groups, grade levels, and testing window time frame.

Resources and Communication Materials

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

Resources for Communicating with Parents

CAA for Science–Assessment Fact Sheet (PDF)

2018–19 California Student Assessment Accessibility for Science (PDF)

Guidance for IEP teams

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

Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit for Science Assessments 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

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

How to Administer the CAA for Science" External link opens in new window or tab. (Video: 12:50)

CAA Test Examiner Tutorial (Video) External link opens in new window or tab. (Posted 01-Nov-2017) Select from one of three tutorials: CAAs for ELA and mathematics (0:25:56); CAA for Science (0:22:19); or CAAs for ELA, Mathematics, and Science (0:46:30)

Science Test Administration for High School Students (PDF)

Student Accessibility Resources

Scores and Results Reporting

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Results website – the Preliminary Indicator summary results for the 2017–18 administration of the CAA for Science, year 2 pilot will be available in fall 2018. These aggregated results will be reported by the state, county, LEA, and school levels as well as by student groups. Caution should be used when interpreting the preliminary indicator results, given that the assessments are not yet operational.

Reporting Science Assessments Results—2017–18 Timeline provides LEAs, schools, and other stakeholders with information about releasing 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) provide 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: Friday, November 9, 2018
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