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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 257

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, December 15, 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. .

California Assessment Accessibility Resource Graphics for 2023–24

The California Assessment Accessibility Resource Graphics for the 2023–24 school year have been updated and are now available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Student Accessibility Resources web page. These graphics display the embedded and non-embedded universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations allowed within the CAASPP and the ELPAC systems. These one-page documents serve as quick reference guides for accessibility resources and are available for the following assessments:

Administering the California Alternate Assessment for Science

The California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science consists of four separate embedded performance tasks (PTs), that become available every September. Test examiners administer the four embedded PTs in any order and at any time during the year, shortly after students receive related instruction. Eligible students take the assessment in grades five and eight, and once in high school (grade ten, eleven, or twelve).

Local educational agencies (LEAs) can refer to the following as they prepare for the administration of the test:

More information is provided in the Organization of the California Alternate Assessment for Science (PDF) flyer.

ELPAC Question of the Week

Can my local educational agency mass assign the “pause and replay” accommodation to all students taking the ELPAC?

The “pause and replay” feature in the ELPAC is an embedded designated support for students to use and not a universal support. While universal tools are features available to all students, designated supports are only available for use by students for whom the need has been indicated by an educator (or team of educators working with the parent, guardian, or student).

The mass assignment of “pause and replay” on the ELPAC for English learner (EL) students defeats the purpose of measuring a student’s proficiency in listening/speaking items and may exit these students early from EL programs and services. It is critical that EL students can respond to instructions or information that the teacher has said once without having to repeat it. We do know that some students have auditory processing needs and agree that they should be allowed to listen to passages more than once. We are also aware that “pause and replay” is a support that some students use regularly within their daily instruction. However, “pause and replay” should be assigned based on need and applied only as a designated support for students taking the ELPAC.

However, unlike the ELPAC's selective provision of the "pause and replay" feature tailored for specific student needs, the CAASPP offers this tool as a universal support available to all students. This feature aids in listening comprehension and does not need to be turned on before beginning administration.

More information on accessibility features available in the ELPAC is provided on the following web pages:

Upcoming Downtime for CAASPP and ELPAC Systems

To prepare for the opening of the 2023–24 summative assessment window, various CAASPP and ELPAC systems are scheduled for downtime next month.

From Thursday, January 4, 2024, at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at 8 a.m., the following systems will be unavailable:

  • Test Delivery System, including Test Administrator Interface
  • Completion Status System
  • Data Entry Interface
  • TOMS (downtime begins Friday, January 5, 2024, at 5 p.m.)

The 2023–24 CAASPP Planned System Downtime External link opens in new window or tab. and 2023–24 ELPAC Planned System Downtime External link opens in new window or tab. web pages provide a calendar of scheduled downtimes through June 2024 as well as a glossary of abbreviations.

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 CDE Assessment Spotlight web page.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, December 18, 2023
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