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COVID–19 Assessment FAQs

Frequently asked questions related to the COVID–19 coronavirus and assessment.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

Frequently asked assessment questions related to COVID-19 and its impact on the following assessment programs: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP); English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC); Physical Fitness Test (PFT); California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE); and High School Equivalency Tests (HiSET and GED).

ELPAC program information can also be found on the Implications of COVID-19 and the Suspension of Testing page External link opens in new window or tab..

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General

  1. Will local educational agencies be required to administer CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments this year because of the closures from the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?

    No. The California Department of Education (CDE) is doing the following for the 2019–2020 testing:

      • Suspending all CAASPP summative testing, including—
        • Smarter Balanced for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics
        • California Science Test
        • California Alternate Assessments (CAA) for ELA, mathematics, and science
        • California Spanish Assessment

      • Suspending Summative ELPAC testing.

      • The CDE is, however, postponing the Initial ELPAC assessment during the time that schools remain closed; therefore, schools are not expected to administer the Initial ELPAC during their closure. Once students return to schools, the CDE’s expectation is that students identified as requiring the Initial ELPAC will be tested. Senate Bill 117 External link opens in new window or tab. (Chapter 3, March 17, 2020) extended the time frame for conducting the Initial ELPAC by 45 days (75 days total) during the 2019–2020 academic year.

        Note: If students do not return by the end of June 2020, local educational agencies should administer the Initial ELPAC at the beginning of the next academic year when the students reenroll. Local educational agencies will have 30 days from the first day of enrollment to complete testing, score the test, and notify parents/guardians of results. Please ensure that any reason for a student’s not having completed Initial ELPAC testing for 2019–2020 is documented in the student’s cumulative record or file.

      • Suspending the PFT.

      • Cancelling the CHSPE test administration for the weekend of March 21, 2020. All March test takers were automatically reregistered for the June 2020 administration and were provided information on how to request a refund from the vendor. Additional locations and space within current locations will be increased for the June administration to accommodate the March cancellations.

      • Placing high school equivalency testing on hold until the local educational agencies reopen the authorized testing centers.
  2. How will the state support local educational agencies during this time?

    Access to the Smarter Balanced Digital Library remained available through its decommission date on May 28, 2020, for all teachers who have accounts. The Digital Library offers free lesson plans for teachers in multiple subjects and for all grade levels. In addition, the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments are available for distance learning through June 30, 2020. All CAASPP and ELPAC practice and training tests are still available along with scoring guides.

  1. Where can I find confirmation that state testing has been cancelled?

    Local educational agencies were notified in a letter dated March 23, 2020 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

    The Assessment Spotlight, March 18, 2020 issue provided an update on COVID-19 and the suspension of statewide testing.

  2. Can the CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments be administered online from home?

    No. CAASPP and ELPAC assessments cannot be administered from home.

  3. Will the CDE be requesting a waiver from the US Department of Education on behalf of all California public K–12 schools?

    Yes, on March 27, 2020, the CDE received final approval from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to waive the following Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for the 2019–2020 school year:

    • Assessment requirements in section 1111(b)(2)
    • Accountability and school identification requirements in sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D); and
    • Reporting requirements related to assessments and accountability in section 1111(h) as enumerated in the template

    A copy of the waiver submitted can be found on the ESSA web page at Every Student Succeeds Act.

  4. How should we prepare to proceed should the closure last through summer 2020?

    The CDE, the testing contractor, and stakeholders are working together to address contingency planning. The primary focus is on making sure students return to safe schools and that their educational needs are being met. The Assessment Development and Administration Division will continue to communicate with local educational agency assessment coordinators as plans are formulated for the fall term.

  5. Will Student Score Reports be generated for those students who completed the CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments? If so, when would they be available?

    CAASPP will be generated for those students completing one or more of the CAASPP summative assessments, except the CSA and CAA for Science, both of which have low participation and require post-equating or standard setting, respectively. Educational Testing Service anticipates the release of CAASPP Student Score Reports to begin in early July 2020.

    ELPAC Student Score Reports will be produced for students who have completed all four domains of the Summative ELPAC. Educational Testing Service anticipates the release of ELPAC Student Score Reports to begin in early July 2020 for grades three through twelve. The release of ELPAC Student Score Reports for kindergarten through grade two (K–2) will begin in late summer due to the COVID-19 shutdown of the warehouse that processes those materials and the closure of schools.
  6. Will apportionment be available next year for this year’s testing, considering that most students did not test?

    Yes. More information about apportionments will be available in 2020–2021.

    California Education Code (EC) sections 60640(l)(1) and 60810(a)(3) require that the State Superintendent of Public Instruction apportion funds to local educational agencies for the administration of the CAASPP and the ELPAC, respectively, to enable local educational agencies to administer the assessments. The California State Board of Education approved the per-pupil apportionment rates, contingent on the availability of an appropriation for this purpose, in March 2020, for tests that were administered as part of the CAASPP and the ELPAC.

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ELPAC

  1. When will the 2019–2020 spring scores be available?

    Local educational agencies will receive electronic Student Score Reports and LEA downloadable data files in two waves for students who completed all four domains of the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC during the spring administration: grades three through twelve in early July, and kindergarten through grade two in late summer.

  2. Will Student Score Reports be developed for students who completed some but not all sections of the ELPAC?

    No. Student Score Reports will only be provided for students who completed all four domains in the spring.

  3. What requirements will be in place for notifying parents of the availability of Student Score Reports for completed tests?

    California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Article 2, Section 11518.15(b) requires local educational agencies to provide individual Summative ELPAC results to parents or guardians within 30 calendar days after they are received by the LEA.

  4. Will we be able to order printed copies of the ELPAC Student Score Reports?

    No. Local educational agencies will not be able to order printed copies of the Summative ELPAC Student Score Reports for this administration.

  5. Because the ELPAC administration will be optional, how will the broad-scale data be available for local educational agency use for such purposes as comprehensive needs assessments and so forth?

    Local educational agencies will be given Summative ELPAC results for those students who tested during the spring and optional fall in a cumulative file. Local educational agencies can use the data in any way that they feel supports student learning. The purpose of the fall testing is for reclassification purposes, not a comprehensive needs assessment of the local educational agencies. Local educational agencies should have other local assessments in place to evaluate their programs.

  6. Will incomplete Summative ELPAC assessments still be scored if one domain in each composite area is complete?

    No. Students who did not complete the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC will not receive a Student Score Report. However, students who did not complete the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC are eligible to take the optional Summative ELPAC in the grade or grade span in which they were enrolled during the 2019–2020 school year for reclassification purposes.

  7. Is there any plan to load ELPAC results into CALPADS, as was formerly done with the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) scores?

    No. Summative ELPAC results will not be uploaded into CALPADS. Only the updated English language acquisition status will be loaded into CALPADS from the Test Operations Management System, starting August 20, 2020.

  8. Will students who did not complete or did not start the Summative ELPAC be able to test in the fall?

    Yes. Students who did not complete testing or did not take any portion of the Summative ELPAC will have the opportunity to take the optional Summative ELPAC during the extension of the window, beginning on August 20, 2020.

  9. When can we ship completed ELPAC K–2 Writing answer books for scoring?

    Beginning on Monday, May 4, 2020, local educational agencies were able to begin returning completed ELPAC Answer Books to Educational Testing Service’s warehouse. Test materials that are returned by June 12, 2020, will be scored and results will be sent to local educational agencies by late summer.

  10. If the Answer Books were sent out the week of March 23, 2020, was there someone available to receive them?

    Although, during the closures, the warehouse has not been processing Answer Books sent from local educational agencies, the warehouse has been able to keep those received materials secure. Local educational agencies can contact CalTAC at 800-955-2954 to confirm that their materials were received. Beginning the week of June 1, 2020, Educational Testing Service has opened the warehouse in limited capacity (to support social distancing guidelines) and materials sent are being checked in and scanned.

  11. Are we to return all Summative tests (incomplete) or simply shred them?

    Local educational agencies must keep all incomplete or unused materials until notified by the testing contractor or after the optional fall administration of the Summative ELPAC. Toward the end of the fall administration window, LEA ELPAC coordinators will receive a communication about the certification of the return or secure destruction of materials.

  12. Is a student eligible for reclassification if the student has completed the Summative ELPAC either this year or in the fall?

    Yes. If the student meets all four criteria, which includes an Overall level 4 on the Summative ELPAC.

  13. Will schools have any method for reclassifying English learners to fluent English proficient if the students completed the Summative ELPAC but not the Smarter Balanced ELA assessment?

    For all grade levels, the CDE has previously provided guidance to local educational agencies that they have the discretion to use local assessments or the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA for meeting criterion 4, if available and applicable.

  14. No one can reclassify without taking the Summative ELPAC, correct?

    That is correct. Students must take the Summative ELPAC and achieve an Overall level 4 to be eligible for reclassification.

  15. If students pass the Summative ELPAC in the fall with an Overall level 4, and we reclassify them, they would not then take the summative again in spring of 2021?

    Yes. Reclassified students whose English Language Acquisition Status is updated to reclassified fluent English proficient in CALPADS would not need to take the 2020–2021 Summative ELPAC.

  16. Will there be a way to order materials for paper-pencil Initial ELPAC testing?

    Yes. Local educational agencies that plan to administer the Initial ELPAC on paper, which is available only for the first six weeks of the testing window, may use the existing 2019–2020 materials. If local educational agencies do not have 2019–2020 materials in stock, they will be able to order them through the Test Operations Management System. Local educational agencies can reuse any unused 2019–2020 Initial ELPAC materials. LEA ELPAC coordinators also can continue to order supplemental materials through the first week of August 2020.

  17. Will the online order many of us have already placed for K–2 Writing be cancelled or will those documents still be usable?

    Local educational agencies that plan to administer the Initial ELPAC after August 20, 2020, which will be a computer-based administration, will still need to maintain or place orders for K–2 Writing, as that domain in those grade levels remain on paper.

  18. Will all Initial ELPAC tests be administered as paper-pencil tests for the first six weeks of school?

    Yes.

  19. How do we score paper-pencil Initial ELPAC test administered in the first six weeks?

    In order to determine student English learner status, local educational agencies will locally score the paper-pencil student Answer Books using the Initial ELPAC Preliminary Overall Score Sheets available in the Test Operations Management System (detailed information on local scoring of the paper-pencil tests will be provided by the testing contractor.) Then, beginning on August 20, 2020, when the computer-based Initial ELPAC opens, all responses and scores from the paper-pencil test will need to be hand-entered into the Data Entry Interface to produce the official score.

  20. So, for the local educational agencies that administer kindergarten assessments in the summer for new enrollees in the 2020–2021 school year, they will have to administer these as paper-pencil tests?

    This is correct. However, local educational agencies may choose to wait until August 20, 2020, to administer the online Initial ELPAC as long as they are within their 30 days of enrollment.

  21. Is the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC available only to those who were not able to test in the 2019–2020 window and not to students who enroll after July 1, 2020?

    The paper-pencil option is both for students who were unable to be tested in spring 2020 due to school closures and for eligible students who enroll on or after July 1, 2020.

  22. Will we be entering scores into the Local Scoring Tool for the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC?
    No. The Local Scoring Tool will no longer be available as of June 27, 2020.
  23. If we have staggered schedules, would it be the 30 days the student has attended?

    No. The 30 calendar days to administer the Initial ELPAC and notify parents and guardians about the results begins on the official first day of enrollment for a student.

  24. Will schools have a paper-pencil option for the Initial ELPAC after August 20?
    Yes. However, they are only for special circumstances. For example, a student who has an individualized education program in place identifying the need for paper or there is a need for emergency situations.
  25. Our Initial ELPAC testing window opens on August 9, 2020. Will we do paper-pencil or online testing?

    Your local educational agency can decide to administer the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC until August 19, 2020, and then begin administering the online Initial ELPAC beginning on August 20, 2020. Your local educational agency also can elect to wait until August 20, 2020, to begin administering the online Initial ELPAC as you are still within your 30 calendar days of the first day of enrollment but it would depend on how many you have to administer the test to and resources available to support testing.

  26. If a student enrolled in 2019–2020 but was not able to take any parts of Initial ELPAC, will the student take the Initial ELPAC for their current grade in 2020–2021?

    Yes. When local educational agencies return in the fall, students must be assessed in the grade that they entered in the 2020–2021 school year.

  27. When will ELPAC training of trainers take place, and in what manner will it be provided?

    The in-person Initial ELPAC trainings have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Administration and scoring training for the Initial ELPAC is now available on the Moodle Training site. LEA ELPAC coordinators were sent an email on April 24, 2020, that included the details and enrollment keys for the certification courses located on the Moodle Training site. Online training for the Initial ELPAC became available on May 1, 2020.

  28. Will the Initial ELPAC training that is beginning on or around May 1 cover both online and paper-pencil testing?

    The training for administration and scoring of the Initial ELPAC addresses only the online Initial ELPAC. The 2020–2021 paper-pencil Initial ELPAC should be administered by test examiners trained for the 2019−2020 administration.

  29. If we enroll potential English learner students now, during the school closures, do we need to administer the Initial ELPAC to them, and how?

    If an LEA’s school year is still open when sheltering in place is lifted this year, the local educational agency may administer the 2019–2020 Initial ELPAC. If a school is closed or the sheltering in place is not lifted, then the administration window for the 2020–2021 Initial ELPAC opens on July 1, 2020. Any students who were unable to be assessed in spring 2020 can be assessed once they are reenrolled in the fall and their school physically opens.

  30. If a student started but did not finish the Initial ELPAC in 2019–2020, must the student take the entire test when reenrolling in the fall or take only the unfinished section?

    Students who did not complete the Initial ELPAC prior to the school closures will need to take the full assessment in the grade in which they are enrolled in the 2020–2021 school year.

  31. Is the 30-day Initial ELPAC requirement a count of calendar days?

    Yes. The 30-day requirement to identify, assess, score, and notify parents and guardians of the results of the Initial ELPAC refers to calendar days.

  32. Is the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC available only to students who were not able to test in the 2019–2020 window and not to students who enroll after July 1, 2020?

    No. The paper-pencil Initial ELPAC can be used for all new students who have not taken the Initial ELPAC in 2019–2020 or 2020–2021. For students who were unable to be tested in spring 2020 due to closures, a local educational agency can decide to administer the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC until August 19, 2020, and then begin administering the online Initial ELPAC beginning August 20, 2020. The local educational agency also can elect to wait until August 20, 2020, to begin administering the online Initial ELPAC.

  33. Will the local educational agencies that are part of the Rotating Score Validation Process (RSVP) for ELPAC in the 2020–2021 school year receive special instructions?

    Yes. RSVP local educational agencies are required to administer the Initial ELPAC using RSVP scannable K–2 Answer Books. Additionally, they will receive special return instructions for these materials. Other than that, local educational agencies are to administer the test as directed in the paper-pencil Examiner’s Manual or online Directions for Administration.

  34. Because the Initial ELPAC will be paper-pencil, is the plan for changing English learner status from CALPADS to the student information system on hold for this year? ­In particular, I am asking about “TBD” to “IFEP” or “EL.­”

    Beginning on August 20, 2020, the English language acquisition status, or ELAS, for students taking the Initial ELPAC will be updated in CALPADS from the Test Operations Management System on a daily basis.

  35. Where is the best place in the student electronic record to indicate the reason for not participating in the Initial ELPAC?

    The local educational agency will need to locally determine the best place to indicate why a student was not assessed this spring. Some locations may include a student’s cumulative folder or directly in the student information system.

  36. For which students do local educational agencies need to add a note about in the student cumulative file?
    Students who were eligible for Initial ELPAC testing in 2019–2020 and due to COVID-19 were unable to complete testing or be tested must have this information documented in the students’ cumulative file/record.

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CAASPP

  1. What does a local educational agency need to do for students who started CAASPP but did not complete all parts of the test?

    No action is required by the local educational agency. With the approval of California’s testing waiver request to the US Department of Education, all tests that were not completed were closed out by the testing contractor.

  2. Is the instruction the same for the handling of CAASPP Directions for Administration (DFAs)? That is, to not destroy the DFAs?

    As of April 8, 2020, the following secure materials have been removed from the Resources tab in the Test Operations Management System External link opens in new window or tab. (secure logon required): DFAs for the CAAs for ELA, mathematics, and science; and CSA constructed-response materials. This is because of the suspension of the CAAs and CSA. CAASPP LEA and site coordinators as well as test administrators and examiners should securely destroy all 2019–2020 CAADFAs and CSA constructed-response materials.

  3. If a student finished the CAAs for ELA, mathematics, and science, will they receive test results?

    Yes, students who completed the 2019–2020 CAA for ELA and mathematics will receive a Student Score Report. Students who completed the CAA for Science will not receive a Student Score Report but instead will receive a percent correct and indicator category (i.e., preliminary indicators) in the student score extract file. For more information about the preliminary indicators, refer to the Preliminary Indicators Communications Toolkit. School districts will also have access to LEA downloadable files in the Test Operations Management System.

  1. If students in grade ten or eleven took the CAST this year (2019–2020), will they have to take the CAST next year (2020–2021)?

    No. If students in grade ten or eleven submitted the 2019–2020 CAST, those students have met the science testing requirement, will receive a Student Score Report, and will not be eligible to test in 2020–2021.

  2. If students in grade ten or eleven who were registered to take the CAST but did not start or submit the CAST this year (2019–2020), will they have to take the CAST?

    Yes. For grade ten or eleven students who were registered to test but did not submit the test, those students will not be considered as having met the science testing requirement and must take the test by the end of grade twelve.

  3. Do local educational agencies need to unregister all grade ten and eleven students who will not take 2019–2020 CAST?

    No. It is not necessary for this year, 2019–2020, to unregister all students in grades ten and eleven who did not take the test at this time. However, it is a best practice to unregister students who do not take the assessment prior to the close of the testing window for subsequent annual administrations.

  4. We normally administer the CAST test to our eleventh graders. Next year, will we be required to test those students as twelfth graders on the CAST in addition to our eleventh graders?

    In 2020–2021, all first-time grade twelve students, who have not yet met the science requirement will be automatically be registered to take the CAST. Local educational agency determines which additional students to register to take the CAST. Only high school students who have not yet met the science testing requirement will be eligible to be registered to take the CAST.

  5. If a high school student took two CAA for Science performance tasks, will that student need to take the other two in the fall, or was that their one opportunity to take the assessment?

    For 2019–2020, students enrolled in grade twelve will be considered as having met the requirement regardless if they submitted the test, started the test, or did not attempt the test.

    For 2020–2021, repeat grade twelve students will not be eligible to take the test. For first-time grade twelve students who have not yet met the science testing requirement will be automatically registered to take the CAST in the Test Operations Management System. Local educational agencies are responsible for registering eligible students for the CAA for Science. Local educational agencies are responsible for registering student in grades ten or eleven if they would like to administer the test to those students if they have not yet met the science testing requirement.

  6. Will scores be reported for students who submitted all four performance tasks the CAA for Science?

    For the 2019–2020 school year, the CAA for Science was to begin its first operational administration; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of testing, the CDE did not have a sufficient number of students completing the assessment to perform a proper analysis of the data. Therefore, the CDE decided to provide local educational agencies with preliminary indicators (i.e., percent correct and indicator category) for those students who completed testing during the 2019–2020 school year. These preliminary indicators were provided to local educational agencies in 2018–19 for the CAA for Science field test administration. For more information about the preliminary indicators, refer to the Preliminary Indicators Communications Toolkit.

  7. Are local educational agencies required to give the interim assessments?

    No. The interim assessments will continue to be optional resources for local educational agencies to use.

  8. How can teachers administer interim assessments without using a secure browser?

    Instructions for teachers as well as for students and their parents or guardians are located on the CAASPP Interim Assessment Administration Resources External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

  9. For which grade levels can teachers use the interim assessments?

    The interim assessments are available for teachers to use with students in all grades.

  10. Do students still need to enter their Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) for interim assessments? If so, what is the best way for them to get that information from their teachers?
    Yes. Local educational agencies will need to find a secure method for students to obtain their SSID while protecting student personally identifiable information. Teachers should not provide this information to students via email or during group meetings. Depending on the local educational agency’s student information system, parents and guardians may be able to retrieve a child’s SSID in the local educational agency’s parent or student portal.
  11. What are the security requirements for the interim assessments when used for distance learning?

    The same security requirements pertain to the interim assessments when used as part of distance learning. The interim assessments are for use only by local educational agency staff and students. Local educational agencies are expected to adhere to these requirements to the greatest extent possible.

  12. Are there plans for the interim assessments to be available for distance learning past this summer?

    A decision has not yet been made about the availability of interim assessments for distance learning beyond June 30, 2020.

  13. For reclassification purposes for requirement 4, the CDE has said that we can use a local benchmark. Our school gives the interim assessments in a secure environment twice annually as our local benchmark. Can the interim assessments be used for reclassification in this circumstance?

    No. California Education Code,Section 60642.7(b) prohibits the use of the interim assessments for any high-stakes purpose, including the reclassification of English learners.

  14. If an LEA uses the interim assessments, could results replace dashboard results?
    No. The interim assessments cannot be used for any high stakes purpose.

High School Equivalency Testing

  1. How can high school equivalency test takers continue to prepare for testing without going into the testing centers?
    Both GED and HiSET offer online test preparation courses for registered test takers. Log into your account and click on the eLearning modules.

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Questions:   Assessment Development and Administration | 916-319-0803
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 25, 2020
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