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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 138

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, May 14, 2021.

Focusing on the CAASPP System and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California’s other statewide assessments. For questions related to test administration, coordination, and trainings, visit the CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. and the ELPAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Registration Now Open for Virtual 2021 CAC

Registration is open for the virtual 2021 California Assessment Conference (CAC), which will be held October 12–14. During the CAC, classroom educators will explore the connections between assessments and classroom instruction while learning how other California educators use assessment tools and strategies to improve teaching and learning. For more information and to register, visit the CAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Unique Opportunity for Educators with Special Education and Science Experience: CAA for Science Standard Setting Workshop!

Educational Testing Services (ETS), testing contractor for the California Department of Education (CDE), is offering a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for educators with special education and science experience who work with students in grades three through twelve! This will be a virtual California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science standard setting meeting, via Zoom External link opens in new window or tab., that will take place August 3–5, 2021.

Because standard setting typically occurs once in the lifetime of an assessment, this workshop presents a unique opportunity for professional development. The work accomplished during this standard setting will result in informing the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s recommended threshold scores, which will be presented to the California State Board of Education in September 2022.

ETS will provide participants with an overview of the process of standard setting as well as train them on the methods to be used. Participants will be assigned to one of three grade-level panels—grade five, grade eight, or high school—and each panel will complete the standard setting process for its correlating grade-band assessment.

Participating educators will receive a modest stipend for attending, and local educational agencies (LEAs) will be reimbursed for the cost for substitute teachers (if needed). To apply, visit the CAASPP Opportunities to Get Involved External link opens in new window or tab. web page. For guidance on the application process, please contact the CAASPP Project Team by phone at 916-228-2682 or by email at edopportunities@scoe.net.

If you are an educator who is familiar with the students who take the CAA for Science and you like making a difference, share your experience and expertise and apply now!

2021–22 CAA for Science Administration Planning Guides Posted!

We are pleased to announce that the 2021–22 California Alternate Assessment for Science Administration Planning Guides—for grades five and eight and high school—are now posted on the CAA for Science Administration Planning Guide web page External link opens in new window or tab.. Each planning guide provides LEAs with the following:

  • Basic information on the CAA for Science administration and test security
  • Assessed standards (i.e., Science Connectors)
  • A planning template to assist in preparing for when to administer each of the four embedded performance tasks
  • Points to consider when deciding the best time to administer a CAA for Science embedded performance task to a student

LEAs should note the importance of downloading the correct version. Schools are assigned to one of four versions, and all grade levels within a school have the same version assignment. LEAs can locate their version assignments by county/district/school code on the CAASPP CAA for Science Version Assignments External link opens in new window or tab. web page. To follow best practices in administering the 2021–22 CAA for Science, LEAs should access these guides early to ensure careful and timely planning of the four embedded performance tasks over the course of the school year.

Note: For those LEAs still administering the 2020–21 CAA for Science, the 2020–21 CAA for Science Administration Planning Guides—for grades five and eight and high school can also be found on the CAA for Science Administration Planning Guides External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

ELPAC Question of the Week

Q: If we administered the Initial ELPAC close to the end of our instructional year, do we still need to administer the Summative ELPAC?

A: LEAs have 75 calendar days to identify students for the Initial ELPAC in 2020–21, notify parents/guardians of Initial ELPAC testing, test the students, and notify parents/guardians of the results. If these actions have been completed and sufficient time remains to administer the Summative ELPAC, the decision to do so will be at the LEA's discretion, depending on whether the LEA is electing to extend its administration window to July 30, 2021, and they are able to assess students.

Keep in mind that any student identified as an English learner on the basis of the results from the Initial ELPAC will be included in the LEA’s Summative ELPAC eligibility list and will be counted as non-testers if they are not tested.

May’s Featured Tools for Teachers Resource: “Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing”

Grade six teachers looking for ways to improve their students’ writing will find this month’s featured Tools for Teachers resource highly valuable! Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing External link opens in new window or tab. (Requires logon) is an English language arts/literacy instructional resource that includes activities for grade six students to help them take ownership of their own writing. During the lesson, they use a rubric to complete self-assessment, give and receive peer feedback, and revise their writing.

After receiving a narrative writing prompt from the Smarter Balanced sample items, the students review the prompt, write responses, and use the brief writes scoring rubric to score their writing and select evidence to support their scoring. The students then engage in the “Peer-to-Peer Feedback” formative assessment strategy to give each other ideas on how to improve their writing. This strategy is an excellent way to facilitate the improvement of student writing without relying heavily on teacher feedback. The activities conclude with the students completing an “exit ticket” by answering the question, “How does the rubric help you with your writing?”

This lesson provides step-by-step directions and the following materials to help in planning and implementing this classroom activity:

  • Writing prompt for the Smarter Balanced sample item
  • Brief writes scoring rubric
  • Tips for giving effective feedback
  • A video demonstrating the lesson being taught in the classroom

“Using Rubrics to Improve Student Writing” is included in the grade six “Write and Revise Narratives” Interim Assessment Connections Playlist, which consists of resources that help teachers provide instruction on the content assessed on the “Write and Revise Narratives” Interim Assessment Block. To view these and other instructional resources and Connections Playlists, LEA staff need a Tools for Teachers account External link opens in new window or tab., which they can obtain either through self-registration or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

Please share this email with any educators in your LEA who would be interested in or benefit from this information. To join the email list, send a blank email message to subscribe-caaspp@mlist.cde.ca.gov. Are you a new subscriber? Visit the CDE Assessment Spotlight web page to find previous issues.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 20, 2021
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