Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

CAASPP Update, Issue 93

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update sent out on March 18, 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

Summative Assessments

March 10, 2015, marked the first official day of online academic testing for California public school students. We are now into our second week of implementing the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments! LEAs whose windows are already opened are well under way with their online testing, while others are preparing for the opening of their window. In preparing for and carrying out the administration of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, we strongly encourage CAASPP Update readers 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, including the following:

  • The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are now available if your LEA has met the minimum instructional days in accordance with the instructional calendar provided in the Test Operations and Management System (TOMS). Test administrators (TAs) use the TA interface to set up a test session, which begins with the selection of the assessment to be administered. When creating a test session, TAs must select summative or interim assessments from the same pull-down menu; therefore, it is critical that TAs carefully select and not administer a summative assessment if an interim assessment is intended or vice versa. If a TA unintentionally administers a summative assessment, the result may be an invalidation of the summative assessment results. If this does occur, TAs should immediately contact their site coordinator or LEA CAASPP coordinator, who will follow up with the CDE.

  • Some Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Classroom Activities have been updated since their initial posting:
  • “Advertising," “Animals with Shells,” “Invasive Species,” “Inventions,” “Monuments,” and “Poetry” were updated on 03/16/2015.
  • “Aztec Empire” and “Zip Line” were updated on 03/06/15.
  • “How the Brain Works” was reposted on 03/05/15 to correct a minor typo in the title on the first page.
  • If the Activity in your Assignment is “Power of Water,” the assigned classroom activity is “Power of Water (Effects of Water)” (updated on 03/02/15).

TAs whose LEA was assigned a classroom activity that has been updated should confirm that they are using the corrected version by checking for the updated date on the lower right hand portion of the page.

  • On March 9, 2015, an updated Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines and Guidelines for Read Aloud, Test Reader were posted. These resources and many others, which are designed to assist with setting embedded and non-embedded designated supports and accommodations for students in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS), are found on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. under the Test Administration tab, Instructions and Manuals.

  • To help with the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment administration of selected embedded and non-embedded designated supports for English learners, three sets of resources are posted on the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. under the Test Administration tab, Instructions and Manuals. These resources include the Instructions for Using Embedded Glossaries (for mathematics only); Smarter Balanced Glossary Student Resource Sheets, in multiple languages, for grades three through eight and grade eleven; and translated test directions for the online mathematics assessments.

  • The Early Assessment Program (EAP), which is a joint effort between the State Board of Education, the CDE, and The California State University system and participating California Community Colleges campuses, will use the 2014–15 CAASPP Smarter Balanced English–language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics achievement-level outcomes to provide students in grade eleven, their families, and their high schools with early signals about students’ readiness for college-level coursework. A letter about the EAP was sent to LEA administrators on March 3, 2015, and a letter addressed to grade eleven students is available for downloading and distribution to all grade eleven students. Links to these resources are provided on the CDE CAASPP Summative Assessment web page. The student letter is also available in Spanish.
Interim Assessments

The Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments consist of two distinct types of interim assessments: the interim comprehensive assessments (ICAs), which are based on the same blueprints as the summative assessments; and the interim assessment blocks (IABs), which are shorter, more focused sets of items that measure one or more assessment targets. Blueprints for the IABs are available by grade for ELA and mathematics on the CDE Interim Assessments web page under New Resources. Each block-level blueprint contains information about the claims, assessment targets, and depth of knowledge levels addressed by the items in that block as well as the number of items allocated to each of those categories. Teachers and other educators can use these blueprints to gain insight into the composition of the IABs in order to use the IABs more effectively in the classroom and better understand the results that are reported.

The much anticipated Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Reporting System (IA Reporting System) is scheduled to be available beginning March 25. Additional information, including links to a training video and user guide, will be provided to LEA CAASPP coordinators on March 25 when the IA Reporting System is available.

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 LEAs. Any LEA CAASPP coordinators who need assistance with registering new users should contact the Digital Library Help Desk by phone at 855-631-1510.

Digital Library search tip: The Digital Library provides a search box, or field, on the upper right hand side of the Digital Library home page. Type one or more words, such as “performance task” or “multiplication facts,” into this box to run a query for a particular type of resource. Do not use more than two or three key words in this box because of the sensitivity of the filter.

Highlighted for consideration this week is the Digital Library resource titled “54 Formative Assessment Strategies for Instructional Application.” This PowerPoint presentation provides a wealth of research-based formative assessment ideas applicable to all teachers. The strategies are organized by student work, self-reporting, technology, peer assessment, teacher observation, teacher feedback, and self-assessment.

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
Recently Posted in Testing
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 61 (added 13-Sep-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, September 11, 2019.
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 58 (added 05-Sep-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 14, 2019.
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 60 (added 05-Sep-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, September 4, 2019.
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 59 (added 05-Sep-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 21, 2019.
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 57 (added 20-Aug-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 15, 2019.

  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 56 (added 19-Aug-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, August 7, 2019.
  • High School Equivalency Test Fee Waivers (added 14-Aug-2019)
    Waiving of Testing Fees for Homeless Youths and Foster Youths Taking the Fee-based High School Proficiency and High School Equivalency Tests.
  • 2018-19 CAASPP Apportionment Information (added 05-Aug-2019)
    Approved apportionment rates for local educational agency administration of the 2018–19 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System (CAASPP).
  • Assessment Spotlight, Issue 55 (added 31-Jul-2019)
    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, July 31, 2019.