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CAASPP Update, Issue 92

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update sent out on March 11, 2015.

The  California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Update, from the California Department of Education (CDE), is a regular e-mail for K–12 educators, including testing coordinators, that focuses primarily on the Smarter Balanced assessments, which are a major component of the CAASPP system. CAASPP also includes the California Alternate Assessments and science assessments. Please forward this e-mail to any educators in your local educational agency (LEA) who would be interested in or benefit from this information.

In this issue:
  • Summative Assessments
  • Interim Assessments
  • Digital Library
  • California Alternate Assessment Field Test
Summative Assessments

The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments have arrived! Hard work on the part of educators all across California has led to the official first day—March 10, 2015—of online academic testing for public school students.

In Tuesday’s CDE news release, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson stated, “These tests reflect the exciting changes taking place in California classrooms. Instead of being asked to merely pick out multiple-choice answers, students are being tested on their ability to reason and think. They must draw logical conclusions and cite evidence from what they have read, and they must solve real-world math problems. And now, like an academic check-up, these tests will give parents, teachers, and schools the feedback they need to help students succeed.”

While the summative assessments are initially available to LEAs whose testing windows opened on March 10, 2015, all other LEAs are preparing for the opening of their windows. In preparing for and carrying out the Smarter Balanced summative administration, we cannot encourage CAASPP Update readers enough to regularly visit the CDE CAASPP System web page and CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. for new and updated resources and information, such as the following:

  • The CAASPP Communications Toolkit is a new web page with links to key resources, including documents that can be used to inform schools, families, and community representatives about the Smarter Balanced summative assessments.

  • As a reminder, the summative assessment performance task classroom activity assignments and classroom activities were posted on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. on March 2, 2015. Information about updates to these activities is also available on this site. For example, note that the following activities have been updated:

    • If the Activity in your Assignment PDF is “Power of Water,” the assigned classroom activity is “Power of Water (Effects of Water)” (Updated 03/02/2015)

    • The classroom activity titled “How the Brain Works” was reposted to correct a minor typographical error in the title. (Updated 03/05/2015)

    • Smarter Balanced has updated the following classroom activities:
      • “Aztec Empire” (Updated 03/06/2015)
      • “Zip Line” (Updated 03/06/2015)

  • Two key resources were recently made available to help prepare test administrators (TAs) to administer the online Smarter Balanced summative assessments. These include the Test Administrator Reference Guide, designed to familiarize TAs with the various features of the TA Interface and the student testing interface, and the Directions for Administration for the Smarter Balanced Online Summative Assessments, a quick-start guide to help TAs set up and administer a test session on the day of testing. Both resources are found on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab., under the TA Resources tab, Resources, Summative Assessments.

  • Item 3 of the March 11–12, 2015 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting agenda is an update on the full range of CAASPP system activities. This update includes the CAASPP Individual Student Report templates, which are being presented to the SBE for approval. Updates on other topics, including the interim assessments and the Digital Library, are also provided in this update.
Interim Assessments

The CDE has just released a new training video for the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Hand Scoring System (IAHSS). This video, which is now available on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab., provides information about how to navigate the IAHSS for accessing and administering the interim assessments. In addition, it introduces resources embedded in the IAHSS such as training guides and exemplars to inform and assist TAs with local hand scoring. This new training video is available to TAs and will be password-protected. The California Technical Assistance Center (CalTAC) has e-mailed access information to all LEA CAASPP coordinators.   

TA resources to support the administration of the interim assessments can be found on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. under the TA Resources tab, Resources, Interim Assessments. These resources include two manuals: (1) Interim Assessment Administration Resource Guide; and (2) CAASPP Teacher Hand Scoring System User Guide. Also included are the performance task classroom activities, by grade, and for English–language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics.

Digital Library

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library External link opens in new window or tab. is a resource for all K–12 public educators in California. The formative assessment tools in the Digital Library can be used by educators in a variety of content areas. Access to the Digital Library is not limited to only ELA and mathematics educators. LEA CAASPP coordinators are encouraged to provide login access to the Digital Library to all educators within their districts. Any LEA CAASPP coordinators who need assistance with registering new users should contact the Digital Library Help Desk by phone at 855-631-1510.

A new video called Introducing the Smarter Balanced Digital Library is now available on the CDE CAASPP Digital Library web page. This short video provides a general introduction to the Digital Library and includes endorsements from California educators who contributed to or are using the formative assessment resources in the library.

California Alternate Assessment Field Test

The California Alternate Assessment (CAA) field test will begin on April 15 and conclude on June 10, 2015.

In CALPADS FLASH #99, the CDE reported that ungraded elementary (UE) and ungraded secondary (US) grades were NOT included in Test Operations Management System (TOMS), and further provided guidance that LEAs would need to convert UE and US to a numerical grade level. For the purpose of the CAA only, TOMS will begin accepting UE and US from CALPADS. These grades will begin showing up in TOMS this week. Consistent with FLASH 99, students marked as UE and US will not have access to the Smarter Balanced grade-specific summative tests.  For CAA administrations to students with a UE or US, LEAs will be able to select from all the grade-level CAA tests. To select the appropriate test, the CDE continues to provide guidance to subtract five (5) from the student’s age as of September 1 of the academic year. For example, “Chris” is 13 years old as of September 1, 2014. To determine Chris’s CAA grade-level test, subtract five (5) from 13 to calculate the grade for the CAA testing. In this example, Chris would take the grade eight CAA. For more information, contact your LEA CAASPP coordinator.

Additional Information

To join the CDE CAASPP e-mail list, send a blank email to subscribe-caaspp@mlist.cde.ca.gov. Additional information about the CAASPP system and Smarter Balanced activities is available on the CDE CAASPP System web page. Questions about the CAASPP system assessments should be directed by phone to 800-955-2954, or by email to CalTAC@ets.org. Questions about the Digital Library should be directed to the Digital Library Help Desk by phone at 855-631-1510 or by e-mail to CalTAC@ets.org.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 9, 2018
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