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Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit

California is committed to developing an alternate science assessment that is derived from the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). The California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and measures what students know and can do in science. The CAA for Science is part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System.

The California Department of Education (CDE) intended for the 2019–2020 administration to be the first operational CAA for Science. The data collected from this administration was to be used in standard setting as part of the final steps in the development of this assessment. Due the suspension of testing on March 20, 2020, not enough students submitted all four of the CAA for Science performance tasks to have the data necessary to conduct standard setting. California requested and received a U.S. Department of Education (ED) waiver of Section 1111(b)(2) under Elementary and Secondary Education Act Section 8401(b), which waived the 2019–2020 requirement to test students for science and report results to students, parents and guardians, local educational agencies (LEAs), and the public.

Therefore, the CDE decided that the first operational administration for the CAA for Science will begin on September 8, 2020, and the standard setting meeting will be conducted in August 2021. Following standard setting, the CDE will seek the approval of the recommended threshold scores from the California State Board of Education in November 2021.

For the 2019–2020 CAA for Science results, California reported preliminary indicators (i.e., consisting of a percent correct and an indicator category). These preliminary indicators are the same as those used for reporting the 2018–2019 field test results. Eligible students in grades five and eight and high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve) who submitted all four embedded performance tasks received preliminary indicators. LEAs received a downloadable student score extract file in Test Operations Management System (TOMS) with preliminary indicators for those students who submitted all four of the CAA for Science performance tasks. For those students who started testing but did not submit all four of the CAA for Science performance tasks, the student score extract file contains the number of items attempted.

The three CAA for Science preliminary indicators are described in the table below. Caution should be used when interpreting the 2019–2020 preliminary indicator results, given that the results reflect an assessment that was not yet operational. The first operational assessment was delayed by one year due to the waiver.

Preliminary Indicator Categories for the CAA for Science
Category Description
Student performance suggests a considerable understanding of the CA NGSS.
Student performance suggests a moderate understanding of the CA NGSS.
Student performance suggests a limited understanding of the CA NGSS.


The following resources provide some key messages about the 2019–2020 preliminary indicators, reporting requirements, and frequently asked questions.

Additional Resources

The following letter templates can be used to communicate individual student score information to parents and guardians for the 2019–2020 CAA for Science preliminary indicator results.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 23, 2020
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