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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.

For the 2020–21 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 results for the 2017–18 field test through the 2019–2020 administrations. 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. High school students who attempted all four of the embedded performance tasks for the CAA for Science in 2020–21 have satisfied the federal and state science testing requirement for high school.

Local educational agencies (LEAs) received a downloadable student score extract file in the Test Operations Management System 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 attempt all four performance tasks, the student score extract file contains the number of items attempted. LEAs have been encouraged to communicate the individual student preliminary indicator results to parents and guardians in a manner best suited to the local context.

The three CAA for Science preliminary indicator categories are described in the table below. Caution should be used when interpreting these preliminary indicator results, given that the results reflect an assessment that was not yet operational. The first operational year for the CAA will be in the 2021-22 administration.

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 2020–21 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 2020–21 CAA for Science preliminary indicator results:

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, October 11, 2021
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