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COVID–19 Assessment FAQs

Frequently asked questions related to COVID–19 and assessment.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

This web page provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) from local educational agency (LEA) staff regarding COVID-19 and its impact on assessment policies, regulations, and requirements of the following programs: English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC); California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP); Physical Fitness Test (PFT); California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE); and High School Equivalency (HSE) Tests (e.g., HiSET and GED).

For questions related to test administration, coordination, and trainings, visit the CAASPP External link opens in new window or tab. website and the ELPAC External link opens in new window or tab. website.

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General FAQs

  1. In 2020–2021, which state tests are students required to take?

    The CAASPP and the ELPAC are required by state and federal laws. All public schools are required to administer these assessments in the relevant grade levels.

  2. Which 2020–2021 CAASPP and ELPAC assessments can be administered online from home?

    Remote test administration guidance is available for the Initial ELPAC, the optional 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC, and the CAASPP Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments for ELA and mathematics only.

    Remote test administration guidance for CAASPP and ELPAC summative assessments in spring 2021 has not been approved. After the fall administrations, further remote test administration guidance for summative assessments will be provided when it becomes available.

  1. Will the state request a waiver of testing requirements from the US Department of Education on behalf of all California public K–12 schools if distance learning continues as in 2019–2020?

    We are required to administer the CAASPP and ELPAC whether students are being instructed through distance learning or in-person learning. In September 2020, the U.S. Department of Education indicated that there would be no additional nationwide waivers such as those granted in spring 2020 to address the emergencies that came about from the COVID-19 pandemic. If severe and emergency circumstances were to arise that would significantly undermine test administration close to or during the testing window, there is a process to follow on a case-by-case basis.


Initial ELPAC

  1. Will there be a 45-day extension beyond the 30 calendar days to administer the Initial ELPAC?

    Yes. Senate Bill 820 was signed by Governor Newsom on Friday, September 18, 2020. This bill allows for a 45-calendar day extension to the Initial ELPAC 30-calendar day requirement. LEAs will now have a total of 75-calendar days to administer (in-person or remotely) the 2020–2021 Initial ELPAC, officially score it, and provide the results to parents and guardians.

  2. Which method of administering the Initial ELPAC should my LEA use?

    The Initial ELPAC will be available to administer either the computer-based Initial ELPAC in the test delivery system or using the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC. Both options are available until the end of the administration year on June 30, 2021. LEAs should decide on a case-by-case basis whether to administer the paper-pencil Initial ELPAC considering that the students’ responses and scores would need to be entered into the Data Entry Interface DEI one-by-one.

  3. If we enroll new students whose primary language is not English now, during distance learning, do we need to administer the Initial ELPAC to them, and how?

    Yes. LEAs have now been given the flexibility to administer the 2020–2021 Initial ELPAC through (1) in-person/co-located administration; (2) remote computer-based administration; or (3) remote paper-pencil administration. More information on the test administration options is located on the ELPAC Important News and Updates web page External link opens in new window or tab..

  4. If a student was not administered the Initial ELPAC in 2019–2020, which grade should the student be administered for the 2020–2021 administration year?

    Students who were not tested with the Initial ELPAC in 2019–2020 will take the 2020–2021 Initial ELPAC in their current grade level.

  5. 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 school closures will need to take the full assessment in the grade in which they are now enrolled in during the 2020–2021 school year.

  6. When does the 30-calendar day timeline begin for administering the Initial ELPAC?

    During the current school closures, the 30-calendar day count begins on the student’s first day of enrollment for the new school year. Note that this has now changed to 75-calendar days with the extension approved by the Governor in Senate Bill 820. LEAs are required to administer, score, and report results to parents/guardians now within 75-calendar days. The Initial ELPAC must be administered and officially scored on or before November 13, 2020, in order for an LEA to be eligible for Local Control Funding Formula and Title III funds for 2020–2021.

  7. Is the plan for changing English learner status from CALPADS to the student information system on hold for this year because the Initial ELPAC was paper-pencil at the beginning of the year? In particular, I am asking about “TBD” to “IFEP” or “EL.”

    As of August 20, 2020, the English Language Acquisition Status, or ELAS, for students taking the Initial ELPAC is being updated in CALPADS from the Test Operations Management System on a daily basis upon completion of testing by students.

  8. For which students—and where—would you indicate the reason for not administering the Initial ELPAC?

    For each student who was eligible for Initial ELPAC testing in 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 and was unable to complete testing or be tested within 75-calendar days (Senate Bill 820) due to COVID-19, LEA staff will need to determine locally the best place to indicate that information. Some locations may include the student’s cumulative folder or the district’s student information system.

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Summative ELPAC Optional Administration

  1. When can the optional 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC be administered? Do all LEAs have to participate?

    The optional Summative ELPAC administration began on August 20, 2020, and ends on October 30, 2020. This is an optional testing window open to all LEAs. LEAs are not required to administer the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC to students during this window. It is intended as an opportunity for students who were not able to complete testing during the 2019–2020 school year to do so, especially students who are being considered for reclassification.

  2. Which students should participate in the optional administration?

    The decision to administer the optional Summative ELPAC is at the LEA’s discretion. LEAs can decide whether there are students for whom they want to prioritize testing for reclassification purposes. The optional Summative ELPAC this fall is recommended for students who have met the other reclassification criteria. This could include students who were transferred from another school if it is determined that the students would benefit from testing.

  3. Which grade level should be used for testing the student during the optional fall administration?

    The student should be tested at the grade level the student was enrolled in during the 2019–2020 administration.

  4. How should LEAs ensure that students matriculating to a new LEA have the opportunity to test and reclassify? Those students will no longer be a part of our LEA, but we hold the information for at least two of the other criteria. Will there be a standardized way to get that information to the new LEA for these students to be able to reclassify?

    LEAs should provide student’s information to the new LEA using their local process.

  5. Will students who did not start or did not complete the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC be able to take the optional administration?

    Students who did not take any portion of the Summative ELPAC will have the opportunity to take the optional Summative ELPAC during the fall extension window. Students who did not complete testing will be able to take the uncompleted domains during this window. They will not have to retake the domains they already completed. All expired tests will be reopened at the point at which they were paused. Students will not be able to go back and change answers but will be able to pick up where they left off.

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

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

  1. What requirements will be in place for notifying parents of the availability of SSRs for completed tests?

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

  2. Because the ELPAC administration will be optional, how will the broad-scale data be available for LEA use for such purposes as comprehensive needs assessments?

    LEAs will be given Summative ELPAC results for those students who tested during the spring and optional administrations in a cumulative data file. The data should be used with caution as not all students completed testing. LEAs can use the data in any way that they feel supports student learning. However, for purposes of conducting comprehensive needs assessments, LEAs should use other local measures they have in place to evaluate their programs.

  3. 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 an SSR. 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. If they complete all four domains in the fall, they will receive an SSR.

  4. Is there any plan to load ELPAC results into the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (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 ELAS is loaded into CALPADS from the Test Operations Management System, as of August 20, 2020. All summative ELPAC results will be available in the California Educator Reporting System.

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  1. Can 2018–19 Summative ELPAC results be used to reclassify students?

    If students have met Overall Level 4 on the 2018–2019 Summative ELPAC, were unable to take or complete the 2019–2020 Summative ELPAC, and meet the remaining criteria during fall 2020, LEAs can reclassify them without having them participate in the optional Summative ELPAC administration as long as their updated ELAS is submitted to CALPADS prior to December 15, 2020.

  2. What options do LEAs have for reclassifying English learners to redesignated fluent English proficient (RFEP) if the students completed the Summative ELPAC but not the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for English language arts/literacy (ELA)?

    For all grade levels, the CDE has previously provided guidance to LEAs 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. Refer to the  COVID-19 Reclassification Guidance for 2019–2020 and Fall Administration web page.

  3. Where can I find more information about the reclassification of English learners?

    For more information on reclassification, visit the Reclassification FAQs web page.

  4. If students pass the Summative ELPAC in the fall with an Overall level 4, and we reclassify them, do they need to take the Summative ELPAC again in spring of 2021?
    No. Reclassified students whose ELAS is updated from EL to RFEP in CALPADS would not need to take the 2020–2021 Summative ELPAC.

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  1. If a student finished the 2019–2020 California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for English language arts (ELA), mathematics, or science, will they receive test results?

    Yes. Students who completed the 2019–2020 CAA for ELA and mathematics will receive a Student Score Report (SSR). Students who completed the CAA for Science will not receive an SSR 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 updated. School districts now have access to LEA data files in the Test Operations Management System.

  2. If students in grade ten or eleven took the California Science Test (CAST) in 2019–2020, must they take the CAST in 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 an SSR, and will not be eligible to test in future administrations of the CAST.

  3. If students in grade ten or eleven who were registered to take the CAST but did not start or submit the CAST in 2019–2020, must take the CAST?

    Yes. For grade ten or eleven students who were registered to take the CAST in 2019–2020 but did not submit the test, those students have not met the science testing requirement and must take the test by the end of grade twelve.

  4. We normally administer the CAST test to our eleventh graders. In 2020–2021, 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. The LEA 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 for registration to take the CAST.

  5. If a high school student took two CAA for Science performance tasks, must that student 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 (i.e., class of 2020) will be considered as having met the requirement regardless of whether 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.

    First-time grade twelve students (i.e., class of 2021) who have not yet met the science testing requirement will be automatically registered in the Test Operations Management System to take the CAST. LEAs are responsible for registering eligible students in grades ten or eleven for the CAA for Science if they would like to administer the test to those students and 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 has provided LEAs 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 LEAs in 2018–2019 for the CAA for Science field test administration. For more information about the preliminary indicators, refer to the Preliminary Indicators Communications Toolkit.

  7. Are LEAs required to administer the interim assessments?

    No. The interim assessments will continue to be optional resources for LEAs 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. Students must enter their SSID to take the interim assessments. LEAs 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 LEA’s student information system, parents and guardians may be able to retrieve a child’s SSID in the LEA’s parent or student portal.

  11. What are the security requirements for the interim assessments when used for distance learning?

    The same security requirements used for in-person administration pertain to the interim assessments when used as part of distance learning. The interim assessments are for use only by LEA staff and students. LEAs are expected to adhere to these requirements to the greatest extent possible.

  12. How long will the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments be available to LEAs for use during distance learning?

    The CDE has extended the availability of the interim assessments for use in distance learning through the 2020–2021 school year.

  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 the results replace dashboard results?
    No. California Education Code Section 60642.7(b) prohibits the use of the interim assessments for any high-stakes purpose.

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High School Equivalency Testing FAQs

  1. Are online test preparation courses available for the GED and the HiSET?

    Yes. To access test preparation courses, create an account at GED® Ready External link opens in new window or tab. and ETS HiSET® Exam at Home External link opens in new window or tab.. Log on to your account and select the eLearning modules.

  2. Is HSE testing available online for testing at home?

    Yes. Because of COVID-19, online proctoring is now available for test takers eighteen years of age or older using a camera-enabled computer. For more information, visit these websites: GED® Ready External link opens in new window or tab. and ETS HiSET® Exam at Home External link opens in new window or tab..

  3. Where can I find out whether a testing center is open for in-person testing?
    Test takers should create an account for HiSET External link opens in new window or tab. or GED External link opens in new window or tab. and then search for in-person testing options.

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Questions:   Assessment Development and Administration | 916-319-0803
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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