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California Science Test


Since the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA NGSS), the California Department of Education has been developing a new science assessment–the California Science Test (CAST)–based on the CA NGSS. The statewide California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System includes federally required science assessments in grades five and eight and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve). This science assessment is the new CAST.

CAST Timeline

Implementation of the CAST is under way, as shown below:

School Year CAST Development Available Testing Window
2017–18 Field test From April 2, 2018, through the end of the local educational agency's (LEA) selected testing window, last day of instruction, or July 16, 2018, whichever comes first
2018–19 Operational test To be determined


Eligible Students

The CAST is for eligible students in grades five and eight and one time in high school. All eligible grade twelve students took the CAST field test. In addition, LEAs had the option to test any or all students in grades ten or eleven; however, it was recommended that LEAs select grade ten or eleven students who were enrolled in their last high school science course. Note that once a student takes the CAST, that student is ineligible to take the test again. Refer to the High School Test Administration Flowchart (PDF) for additional information.

CAST Blueprint

On November 8, 2017, the SBE approved the CAST blueprint (PDF). The blueprint outlines how the CAST is constructed and documents the alignment of the CAST with the CA NGSS.

Administration of the CAST Field Test

The CAST field test consisted of 32 to 48 items, two or three performance tasks, and a short survey. It took approximately two hours to complete. For more information, refer to the CAST Available Resources Guide (PDF).

Preparing for the Field and Operational Tests

CAST Accessibility Supports for Operational Testing (PDF)
This report establishes the accessibility guidelines used during the development of the CAST operational test.

CAST Field Test Accessibility Resources (PDF)
This graphic displays the universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations (embedded and non-embedded) allowed as part of the CAST Field Test for 2017–18.

CAST Training Test and Scoring Guide External link opens in new window or tab.
This training test provides sample CAST items for grades five and eight and high school, while the scoring guide provides answers and scoring rubrics. A third-generation training test will be available in March 2018.

Science Reference Tools for Students in Grade Eight and High School External link opens in new window or tab.
Students can access CAST reference tools during online testing. The tools, which include a periodic table and a reference sheet of formulas and scientific constants, are made available to signal that students are not expected to memorize this information. They are not required to be used during classroom instruction and are not meant to guide instruction.

CAST Resources

  • Parent Guide to Understanding the CAST (PDF)
    Provides answers to key questions, such as who takes the assessment and why, when, and how they are administered, and other questions parents and guardians might have.
  • CAST video
    Provides information about the CAST and the CA NGSS.

Related Resources

The following web pages and sites include numerous resources for the NGSS.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
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