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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 256

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, December 8, 2023.

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. .

Educator Opportunity to Develop Science Resources

Science educators are invited to apply to participate in a four-day workshop in the Sacramento area, July 9–12, 2024, to develop science instructional resources for the Tools for Teachers website External link opens in new window or tab. . Participants will have six to eight weeks to complete an asynchronous pretraining course prior to the in-person workshop.

During the training, educators will participate in an overview of three-dimensional California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS)-aligned instruction with a focus on Science and Engineering Practices. Then, participants will work individually and in teams to design instructional resources that align with science standards and implement the formative assessment process.

California science educators are an integral part of this effort! If you are interested in participating in the next round of development of these science instructional resources for Tools for Teachers, please complete this interest survey External link opens in new window or tab. by Thursday, February 1, 2024. Preference will be given to teachers with experience in middle and high school Earth and Space Sciences. For more information, please contact Aimee Myers at

December’s Featured Resource in Tools for Teachers—Get Down and Dirty

Grade five teachers can use this month’s Tools for Teachers science instructional resource, Get Down and Dirty External link opens in new window or tab. (account required), in which students will describe rich soil in terms of its components and how the components interact. This phenomenon-based lesson, aligned with the CA NGSS, focuses on the Cross Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models and the Science Engineering Practice: Developing and Using Models.

In this lesson, students use video and images to compare the destruction of the forest around Mount Saint Helens with the regrowth of the forest 30 years later. Students will come to understand the difference between dirt and rich soil that can support plant life.

Engagement, collaboration, and use of models are supported through strategically embedded formative assessment activities such as Gallery Walks, Think-Pair-Shares, and Blanket the Table. During lesson activities, students will strengthen their abilities to create models to identify the components of soil systems and the interactions between those components.

To view this and other instructional resources, local educational agency (LEA) staff need a Tools for Teachers account which can be obtained either through self-registration, described in the flyer How to Self-Register for Tools for Teachers(PDF), or through their LEA CAASPP coordinator.

To receive future CAASPP updates and notifications, subscribe to the CAASPP mailing list by sending a blank email message to For previous Assessment Spotlight issues, visit the California Department of Education Assessment Spotlight web page.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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