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Assessment Spotlight, Issue 89

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) email update, May 1, 2020.

Focusing on the CAASPP System and English Language Proficiency Assessments of California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California’s other statewide assessments.

CDE Committed to Annual California Assessment Conference, 2020

In January, the California Department of Education (CDE) was pleased to announce the dates for the 2020 California Assessment Conference (CAC). Since then, many things in our world have changed; however, one thing that remains unchanged is our commitment to holding this highly informative conference. Exactly how that will be done, either in person or virtually, is yet to be determined. We will be following guidance from the Governor, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and health officials and will keep educators across the state updated every step of the way.

We look forward to providing classroom educators and site administrators with the highest quality learning, and hope to see you there. If you have been considering attending the CAC, we encourage you to register. If you would like more information, please visit the 2020 CAC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Reminder: Interim Assessments Available for Distance Learning

Through June 30, 2020, the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments will be open for local educational agency (LEA) staff to use as part of distance learning while schools are closed due to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Instructions for teachers, as well as for students and their parents or guardians, to use the interim assessments as part of distance learning are available on the CAASPP Interim Administration Resources web page External link opens in new window or tab.. In addition, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has created the new Supporting Remote Teaching and Learning web page External link opens in new window or tab., with tools and suggestions for supporting and advancing distance learning.

The use of the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments by LEA staff continues to be optional and should be done in conjunction with LEA guidelines and goals. LEAs are prohibited from using the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments for any high-stakes decisions such as LEA or school staff evaluations, student retention or placement into special programs, or reclassification of English learners.

Physical Fitness Test

Last week, the Governor issued Executive Order (EO) N-56-20, which included the waiver of the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for the 2019−2020 school year. Specifically, the EO stated the following:

Education Code Section 60800, requiring each LEA maintaining any of grades 5, 7, and 9 to administer a physical fitness performance test to each student in those grades, and Education Code sections 33352(b)(4) and (5), requiring the California Department of Education to collect data regarding the administration of the physical fitness test, are waived for the 2019−20 school year.

Therefore, for the 2019−2020 school year, LEAs are waived from (1) the requirement of administering the PFT; and (2) including the results of the PFT in their school accountability report card (which would have been due in February 2021).

Note that EO N-56-20 External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), available on the Governor’s Newsroom web page External link opens in new window or tab., does not address Education Code Section 51421(b)(1), which allows the governing board of a school district or the office of a county superintendent of schools to grant a temporary exemption to a pupil from courses in physical education if the pupil satisfactorily meets at least five of the six standards of the PFT. Additional information on this exemption will be available soon on the CDE COVID-19 web page .

Student Test Settings in CALPADS

Because of the disruption of the 2019–2020 school year due to COVID-19, the full implementation of a project to allow student accessibility resource settings (test settings) to be loaded into the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and sent directly to the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) has been postponed until the 2021–2022 school year. The CDE and testing contractor Educational Testing Service (ETS) are working together to roll out a testing and communication plan for the new process. Similar to the launch of electronic Student Score Reports, integration testing with interested student information system (SIS) and special education data system (SEDS) vendors and LEAs will begin in spring 2021.

All LEAs will be required to submit test settings to CALPADS beginning in the 2021–2022 school year. To prepare for this transition, it is important for LEAs to ensure that test settings for all students without an individualized education program (IEP) are maintained in the SIS, including English learners, students with a Section 504 Plan, and general education students. Test settings for students with an active IEP should be maintained in the SEDS.

For 2020–2021, the existing process of loading test settings directly into TOMS will remain in effect; that is, TOMS upload file, ISAAP Tool, or manual selection. ETS will provide the 2020–2021 TOMS template for loading test settings into TOMS on July 1, 2020. The main changes for 2020–2021 will be the inclusion of the initial ELPAC, the ability to assign text-to-speech on an assessment by assessment basis, and the incorporation of paper–pencil test settings.

Digital Library Change Coming Soon!

Since 2014, the Digital Library has served as the formative assessment component of the Smarter Balanced assessment system, offering instructional and professional development resources to educators in California LEAs. On May 28, 2020, the Digital Library will be decommissioned to make way for something new—Tools for Teachers, a website offering an advanced suite of instructional and professional development formative assessment resources aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Hundreds of educators, including California educators, are working with Smarter Balanced to build this new website, which features resources focused on implementing the formative assessment process in the classroom.

On June 16, 2020, a preview of Tools for Teachers will become available to all educators in California LEAs. The preview website will feature many of the resources that will be available at the grand opening, expected in late September 2020. California LEA staff who have an existing Digital library account will be automatically registered for the Tools for Teachers website. In addition, self-registration will continue to be available for all California LEA staff who need it. Digital Library users may want to use the download feature to save their current frequently used or “Favorite” resources if they anticipate wanting to use them at a later time.

More information about Tools for Teachers will be provided in upcoming issues of the Assessment Spotlight. In the meantime, please visit the Smarter Balanced Tools for Teachers Information web page External link opens in new window or tab. to learn more about this exciting new resource for teachers.

All About Accessibility

Understanding what students know and can do is essential to making good decisions about student learning, which is why California statewide assessments offer accessibility resources that ensure equal access to assessment for all students. On behalf of the CDE, ETS and WestEd interviewed educators in the San Diego Unified School District to obtain their feedback on the importance of implementing accessibility resources for students in the classroom. The best practices used by these educators are now highlighted in a new, CDE-hosted video, “Importance of Implementing CAASPP and ELPAC Accessibility Resources: Voices from Educators” External link opens in new window or tab.. This promotional video is available to LEAs wanting to incorporate its message into their staff trainings.

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: Friday, May 1, 2020
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