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Science Assessments Preliminary Indicators FAQ


California Science Test

  1. Who takes the California Science Test?

    All students will be administered the California Science Test field test in grades five and eight and once in high school, unless a student’s individualized education program (IEP) designates alternate assessments. All grade twelve students will be administered the field test, and LEAs can elect to administer the field test to any or all students in grade ten or eleven. For grade ten or eleven students, it is recommended that LEAs select those who are enrolled in their last science course.

California Alternate Assessment for Science

  1. Who takes the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science?

    Only eligible students—students whose individualized education program (IEP) identifies the use of alternate assessments—may participate in the administration of the CAAs. Students in grades five and eight and one time in high school take the CAA for Science. For the pilot test, all eligible grade twelve students will take the CAA for Science. Local educational agencies (LEAs) also have the option to test any or all grade ten or eleven students; however, it is recommended that LEAs select students in grade ten or eleven who are enrolled in their last science course.

Preliminary Indicators

  1. What is a preliminary indicator?

    It offers a general indication of student content knowledge. Preliminary indicators include a percent of items answered correctly and an indicator category. They are not scale scores and are not achievement levels, which are more precise measures of student achievement.

  2. What are the preliminary indicator categories?
    Category Description
    3
    Student performance suggests a considerable understanding of the California Next Generation Science Standards.
    2
    Student performance suggests a moderate understanding of the California Next Generation Science Standards.
    1
    Student performance suggests a limited understanding of the California Next Generation Science Standards.
  3. How can a local educational agency (LEA) use this preliminary indicator information?

    Preliminary indicators provide a broad and early indication about an LEA’s implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards. They should be used in conjunction with other information available at the LEA, as preliminary indicators are not precise enough to stand on their own. These data are more useful for gauging group performance rather than for use with individual students.

  4. How were the preliminary indicators created? Who developed them?

    Preliminary indicators were created by assessment experts and vetted by California educators and the California Department of Education.

  5. Why were the preliminary indicators created?

    A double-testing science waiver was not available to negate the requirement for reporting results to parents/guardians and the public; therefore, science results must be reported to them. These preliminary indicators were developed to provide science assessment results to parents/guardians and the public before the completion of the science assessments’ development.

  6. How is a preliminary indicator different from a typical scale score and an achievement level?

    Preliminary indicators do not make judgments about whether a given performance meets standards. The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress science tests are still in development. A scale score and an achievement level cannot be provided until the new assessments have been fully analyzed and score thresholds developed with input from California educators.

  7. How do local local educational agencies (LEAs) calculate the preliminary indicators for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science?

    After all three embedded performance tasks have been administered to a student, the LEA takes the three total scores from the performance tasks and adds them together. Then, the LEA uses the provided CAA for Science Total Score Conversion Tables, taking care to use the right grade, to determine the percent correct and corresponding indicator category.

  8. Do I need to collect California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science results in a central location?
    No. Local educational agencies (LEAs) may opt to delegate CAA score calculation and dissemination responsibilities to the schools. Because CAA scores are calculated manually, large LEAs, in particular, may prefer to keep score calculations at the school level.

Student Score Reports

  1. Will preliminary indicators be provided on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Student Score Report?

    No, the 2017–18 CAASPP Student Score Report will contain only results from the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments or the California Alternate Assessments for English language arts and mathematics. For more information, see the Science Assessments—Transition to Operational Status Web page.

  2. When will students receive a scale score and an achievement level for the science assessments?

    The California Science Test is scheduled to begin providing scale scores and achievement levels for the 2018–19 administration, and the California Alternate Assessment for Science will begin providing scale scores and achievement levels for the 2019–20 administration. For more information, see the Science Assessments—Transition to Operational Status Web page.

  3. How and when will local educational agencies (LEAs) obtain the California Science Test (CAST) results?

    LEAs will be provided with individual student scores in the student downloadable file that LEAs will have access to in fall 2018. LEAs are responsible for reporting individual student results to parents/guardian. LEAs determine the manner that is most appropriate for their local needs. See the CAST letter template (DOCX) for reporting results to parents and guardians.

  4. Who will provide students’ preliminary indicators for the California Science Test to local educational agencies (LEAs), and when will they be provided?

    In fall 2018, the California Department of Education will provide LEAs with individual student scores in the student downloadable file found in the Test Operations and Management System (TOMS). See the Reporting Science Assessment Results–2017–18 Results Timeline Web page. LEAs are responsible for reporting individual student results to parents/guardian. LEAs determine the manner that is most appropriate for their local needs. See the CAA letter template (DOCX) for reporting results to parents and guardians.

  5. Who will provide students' preliminary indicators for the California Alternate Assessment for Science to local educational agencies (LEAs) and when will they be provided?
    LEAs will use the task-specific Answer Recording Documents to compile a total score for a student. In fall 2018, the California Department of Education will post on the Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit Web page, the California Alternate Assessment for Science Total Score Conversion Tables for LEAs to determine the preliminary indicators (i.e., percent correct and indicator category). LEAs are responsible for reporting individual student results to parents/guardian. LEAs determine the manner that is most appropriate for their local needs. See the CAA letter template (DOCX) for reporting results to parents and guardians.

Reporting Results

  1. To whom do local educational agencies (LEAs) need to communicate individual student score information?

    LEAs are required to communicate an individual student’s preliminary indicator (i.e., percent correct and indicator category) to parents and guardians in a manner that works best locally.

  2. What are some of the methods that local educational agencies (LEAs) can use to disseminate the individual student results to parents and guardians?

    The following are suggestions for how LEAs could meet the requirement for science reporting to parents:

    • Distribute letters (using the provided template), either electronically or by paper.
    • Incorporate the reporting into the regular parent-teacher conferences.
    • Incorporate the reporting into the annual individualized education program team meetings.
    • Set up a personalized automated phone distribution for individual student results.
    • Establish a secure online portal.

    Note that this is not an exhaustive list. LEAs should choose an approach that works best for them.

  3. Must local educational agencies (LEAs) comply with the requirement of making the report available within 20 working days, according to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 863 after they get the science results?

    LEAs are expected to provide the individual student results in a reasonable time. The requirement to distribute the results within 20 working days applies only to the CAASPP Student Score Report.

  4. Will local educational agencies (LEAs) receive downloadable student data files for California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science scores in fall 2018?

    No, LEAs will need to use the Answer Recording Documents for the CAA for Science to derive a student’s score for the CAA for Science. In fall 2018, the California Department of Education will post on the Preliminary Indicator Communication Toolkit Web page, the California Alternate Assessment for Science Total Score Conversion Tables for LEAs to determine the preliminary indicators (i.e., percent correct and indicator category). LEAs are responsible for reporting individual student results to parents/guardians.

  5. Will the California Department of Education (CDE) publicly release the California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science preliminary indicator data at the school, district, county, and state levels on the CAASPP Results Web site?

    Yes, the CAA for Science and the CAST aggregate results will be posted as research files on the CDE CAASPP Results Web site at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/. Participation rates will not be provided in the posted results; they will be reported only to the U.S. Department of Education.

  6. Do local educational agencies need to import a student’s preliminary indicators into a student information system?

    It is a local decision whether to use a student information system to store a student’s results. Note that the preliminary indicators will not be comparable to the operational scale scores and achievement levels.

Accountability

  1. Will the 2017–18 preliminary indicators be used for accountability?

    No, preliminary indicators for science will not be reported on the California School Dashboard. When the science tests are operational and doing so is appropriate, the scores will be used for statewide accountability.

    At the federal level, California will report participation rates and preliminary indicators for students in grades five, eight, and twelve. The participation of grade ten or eleven students who tested in 2017–18 will be stored and reported to the U.S. Department of Education when the students are enrolled in grade twelve.

  2. What information will be reported for the California Science Test (CAST) in 2018–19?

    In 2018–19, the first operational administration of the CAST, students’ results will be reported with scale scores and achievement levels. See the Science Assessments—Transition to Operational Status Web page for more information.

  3. What information will be reported for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science in 2018–19?

    In 2018–19, the CAA for Science field test will have one more year of reporting preliminary indicators. In 2019–20, the CAA for Science will move into an operational administration and will have scale scores and achievement levels after the standard setting is done. See the Science Assessments—Transition to Operational Status Web page for more information.

  4. Is there discussion regarding the addition of science to the California School Dashboard in the future?

    Yes, but the California Department Education and the State Board of Education will add science only when it is deemed appropriate. At this time, there are no plans to report the participation rate for science in the California School Dashboard.

  5. What grades will the California Department of Education (CDE) report participation to the U.S. Department of Education?

    The CDE will be reporting to the U.S. Department of Education participation rates for students who are currently enrolled in grades five, eight, and twelve. Participation rates of grade ten or eleven students who tested in 2017–18 will be stored until the students are enrolled in grade twelve for reporting to the U.S. Department of Education. All students who tested in 2017–18 will get results, but not on the CAASPP Student Score Report.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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