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CAASPP Update, Issue 139

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, February 3, 2016.

Focusing on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System, including the Smarter Balanced assessments—a major component of CAASPP—and the California Alternate Assessments and science assessments.

February Downtime Coming Up

The Interim Assessment Viewing System, as well as the Smarter Balanced practice tests and training tests, will be unavailable during scheduled downtime this month: 9 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, through 9 p.m. Sunday, February 28. All other CAASPP online systems will be available, and there will be no interruption to the interim or summative assessment Test Delivery System.

The California Alternate Assessment (CAA) training tests will be loaded into Test Delivery System during this downtime. Once the practice system is brought back online, the CAA training tests will be available for use by the CAA test examiners.

Looking Ahead: April Scheduled Downtime

Scheduled downtime for the Test Delivery System will begin at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, and end at
9 p.m. on Sunday, April 10. This downtime is necessary for the loading of the CAAs into Test Delivery System. 

Systems offline during this period will include:

  • Test Delivery System (Test Administrator Interface and Student Testing Site)
  • Online Reporting System

Systems not impacted include:

  • Test Operations Management System (TOMS)
  • Practice and Training Tests
  • Assessment Viewing Application (Interim Assessment Viewing System)
  • Interim Assessment Hand Scoring Module
  • Appeals

Important note for planning: Although TOMS will remain operational during the downtime, any changes to student test settings, test assignments, and unlisted resources during this time will take at least 24 hours to load into the Test Delivery System; therefore, they will not be available until April 12 at the earliest.

Accessibility Resources: Test Settings

When determining the appropriate test settings for a student, the first step is for the individualized education program (IEP) team to determine which assessments the student will take—either the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments or the California Alternate Assessments. Then, keep in mind that universal tools are available to all students, by student preference and selection. Designated supports are available to all students, by teacher recommendation. Accommodations are available only to students with an IEP or Section 504 plan and must be referenced in the IEP/Section 504 plan.

There is no need for the California Department of Education (CDE) to approve the use of designated supports. For example, “separate setting” (most beneficial time, special lighting/acoustics, adaptive furniture, small group) is considered a designated support, and the test examiner simply activates this setting in TOMS for the Smarter Balanced tests and the CAAs.

As with other accommodations, start the selection of an unlisted resource by logging into TOMS and locating the student’s profile. Then:

  • Choose the tab labeled “UL Resources.”

  • Review the list of student needs in step 1 and choose those that best describe the student.

  • Select the applicable pre-approved non-embedded unlisted resources from the table in step 2. Note that these resources have been determined to change the construct of the assessment; therefore, their use will invalidate the results for the purpose of accountability.

  • If you do not see the applicable unlisted resource in the table in step 2, select the “Other” button next to the table in step 3.

  • When that window opens, identify the student needs, select the appropriate test (Smarter Balanced or CAAs) and the content area (English language arts, mathematics, or science), and then answer the last three questions:

    • Name of the unlisted resource being requested?
    • How will this resource be used by the student?
    • Why is this unlisted resource necessary? (i.e., What kind of access does this resource provide that is not already available on the CDE Matrix One: CAASPP Web page?)

  • Select “save,” and then select “submit.”

The CDE will review your request, and you will receive a response indicating whether the requested resource has been approved or denied.

Digital Library Featured Resource—4th Grade Subtraction Mistake Detectives: Place Value and Algorithm

This month’s featured Digital Library resource, “4th Grade Subtraction Mistake Detectives: Place Value and Algorithm,” consists of a classroom lesson presented through a slide show and a corresponding teacher’s guide. The presentation slides engage students in the process of analyzing error patterns and explain how error patterns can be corrected. Five developmentally appropriate strategies are demonstrated: estimation, concrete models, drawing pictures, standard form, and simplification. Each strategy reinforces the patterns related to regrouping in the base ten number system when solving subtraction problems.

Each instructional sequence in the module has been designed to help students detect errors made while performing the subtraction algorithm, and the module teaches the content-area vocabulary necessary to explain how error patterns can be corrected. Through the analysis of error patterns, students will be able to demonstrate and articulate relationships between the subtraction algorithm and place value concepts.

This resource was contributed by California’s own State Network of Educators member, Dr. Carol Kohn. Check out this resource and try it in your classroom! Then consider taking a few moments to write a review for the benefit of colleagues who are visiting the Digital Library.

New Resource: Extracting Meaning from Performance Task Responses

WestEd External link opens in new window or tab. and the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity External link opens in new window or tab. have partnered to create the new website, Understanding Proficiency: Learning from Student Work on Performance Tasks External link opens in new window or tab.. This resource for educators lays out how to develop a deeper understanding of the Common Core State Standards by analyzing student work on performance tasks of the Smarter Balanced Practice Tests. Central to this resource are samples of actual student work that has been collected, scored, and annotated by teachers to illustrate proficiency across the range of score levels possible for each task.

Currently, resources are provided for English language arts/literacy performance tasks. Resources for mathematics are expected to be available this spring. For more information regarding this new resource, contact Jessica Arnold, Senior Program Associate, WestEd, at

Please share this e-mail with any educators in your local educational agency who would be interested in or benefit from this information. To join the e-mail list, send a blank e-mail message to Are you a new subscriber? Visit the CDE CAASPP Update Web page to find previous issues.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-4821
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 3, 2020
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