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CAASPP Update, Issue 142

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, February 24, 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.

System Downtimes: February, March, and April

  • Tonight, February 24, at 9 p.m. through Sunday, February 28, at 9 p.m., the Interim Assessment Viewing System as well as the Smarter Balanced practice tests and training tests will be unavailable.

  • NEW—March 18 at 5 p.m. through March 20 at 7 p.m., the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) will be undergoing system maintenance and will not be accessible.

  • April 7 at 4 p.m. through April 10 at 9 p.m., system downtime is scheduled for the Test Delivery System (Test Administrator Interface and Student Testing Site) and the Online Reporting System.

Note: If downtime impacts your local educational agency’s (LEA’s) selected testing window, please contact CalTAC by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at to extend the testing window.

Summative Test Security Incidents to Report? Go Through STAIRS

CAASPP LEA coordinators or site coordinators should use the online Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System (STAIRS) to report testing incidents for the CAASPP summative assessments. STAIRS is available online and can be accessed only in TOMS.

For any testing incidents or test security breaches involving the interim assessments, however, please contact CalTAC by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at

Accessibility Notes

Note that when requesting an unlisted resource, which is done through TOMS, it is important to describe in detail how the resource will be used by the student during the test. In regard to designated supports and accommodations, before selecting and assigning them, please review the updated Matrix One: Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. To summarize the Matrix One updates:


  • Separate setting, a non-embedded support accommodation for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, now includes special lighting or acoustics and administration of the test to the student at the most beneficial time of the day.

  • Translated test directions are an allowable non-embedded support for ELA.

  • Text-to-speech, an embedded accommodation for reading passages, is now permitted for all grades. Smarter Balanced provides guidelines for choosing text-to-speech in grades three through five. Please refer to these guidelines before assigning this resource.

  • The calculator, for allowed items, has been added as a non-embedded accommodation for mathematics in grades six through eight and grade eleven. If the calculator will be used for all items—not only the items for which it is allowed—an unlisted resource request must be submitted through TOMS.

  • Read aloud in Spanish has been added as a non-embedded designated support for mathematics items and stimuli.


  • American Sign Language for ELA reading items, reading passages, ELA writing and listening items, and mathematics has been removed as a non-embedded support. It is now available as a pre-identified unlisted resource through TOMS.

  • The non-embedded protractor and non-embedded ruler (math tools) have been removed as non-embedded supports for mathematics.

  • Simplified test directions are no longer available as a universal tool and must be requested as an unlisted resource through TOMS. In the description of the unlisted resource, please indicate whether the request is that only the test directions be simplified or that the test questions be simplified as well.

Early Assessment Program

Reminder for grade eleven students: Under the Early Assessment Program (EAP) of the California State University (CSU), student results from the grade eleven Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are used to determine student readiness for college-level coursework in English and mathematics. To automatically release their scores to CSU campuses and participating California community colleges, grade eleven students should select the “release” button at the end of each CAASPP test (i.e., for both the ELA and mathematics assessments).

Update for grade twelve students: Grade twelve students who are currently applying to a CSU campus or a participating California community college but did not release their grade eleven CAASPP scores should wait until the admitting campus formally requests their CAASPP Student Score Report.

Accessing the Practice Tests over Multiple Sessions Now Simplified

Use the new Practice Test Administrator Interface to set up a test session! By accessing the Practice Tests in this way, students will log on with a secure browser, their responses will be saved, and they will be able to return to the Practice Tests in a subsequent test session without having to start over!

Other advantages to using the Practice Test Administrator Interface to access the Practice Tests include:

  • Students gain an opportunity to practice logging on through the secure browser.
  • Teachers gain experience in setting up test sessions.

Weekend Scoring Workshops Begin Next Month

A series of weekend workshops on scoring the Smarter Balanced Assessments begins Saturday, March 12, and continues through Sunday, May 22, 2016. Participants will receive hands-on training and have the opportunity to become certified, paid raters.

The workshops are organized by content area and grade span:

Saturday Trainings

  • ELA, grades three through five
  • ELA, grades six through eight
  • Mathematics, grades six through eight

Sunday Trainings

  • ELA, grade eleven
  • Mathematics, grades three through five
  • Mathematics, grade eleven


Participants choose the content area/grade band they wish to score, indicating their choice on the registration form. Registration is online, and participants may register for only one content area/grade band training session.

What to Bring

Participants must bring a Windows or Mac OS laptop that is Wi-Fi compatible to the workshop. There will be a limited number of laptops available during the workshop on a first-come, first-served basis. Chromebooks, iPads, and all other tablets cannot be used.

Interim Assessments: Using the “Manner of Administration” Setting

The “Manner of Administration” setting in the test administrator (TA) interface is provided for interim assessment administrators to indicate whether an administration of the interim assessments will be standardized. This setting is available when both interim comprehensive assessments (ICAs) and interim assessment blocks (IABs) are being administered.

Two options are available for this setting: “Standardized/Benchmark” and “Nonstandardized.” As interim assessment administrators begin to use this setting, they should consider the following information:

  • The default selection is “Nonstandardized.”

  • The interim assessment for a student should be marked “Standardized/Benchmark” only if the interim assessment will be administered in a standardized manner and a valid interpretation of results can be made. The exact criteria for selecting the “Standardized/Benchmark” option for a student are determined locally.

  • Results marked “Standardized/Benchmark” will be retained in the Interim Assessment Reporting System for potential longitudinal analyses locally.

Note that results from the 2015–16 interim assessments marked “Nonstandardized” will be purged from the Interim Assessment Reporting System at the beginning of the 2016–17 school year, at which time all 2014–15 interim assessment results also will be purged. LEAs can download all 2014–15 and 2015–16 interim assessment results from the Interim Assessment Reporting System at any time before these data are removed.

More information about the “Manner of Administration” setting can be found in the November 3, 2015 e-mail notification External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) from CalTAC to LEA CAASPP coordinators.

New! State Network of Educators Web Page

Visit the new California Department of Education (CDE) State Network of Educators (SNE) web page! Educators from across Smarter Balanced member states comprise the SNE. They are trained to contribute and review resources for inclusion in the Smarter Balanced Digital Library. Each month, a new SNE member will be featured on the CDE SNE web page. In addition, the CDE is creating videos of select SNE members demonstrating the formative assessment process. These videos will be available beginning in March 2016 on the new SNE web page and will accompany a detailed resource (e.g., lesson plan) in the Smarter Balanced Digital Library.

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 03, 2020
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