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CAASPP Update, Issue 156

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update, June 1, 2016.

Focusing on the CAASPP System, including the Smarter Balanced assessments—a major component of CAASPP—and the California Alternate Assessments and science assessments.

Security and Test Administration Irregularity Report System: Reports

Please review the following information on issues frequently reported in the Security and Test Administration Irregularity Report System (STAIRS) and their resolution:

  • Skipping questions. We have received numerous STAIRS reports in which local educational agencies (LEAs) relate, on the basis of students’ descriptions of their experiences with the Test Delivery System, that the online Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are skipping questions and that students cannot access all of the test items. The system does not allow students to skip questions. Research of specific Statewide Student Identifiers (SSIDs) has not corroborated any of the student reports of this type.

    After answering the last item in each segment, students are presented with a screen prompting them to review answers for all items available to them. After answering the last question of the last segment, students must submit their tests by selecting the “Submit” button. The system does not automatically submit a test for a student unless the student has responded to all of the questions and the test or testing window has expired.

  • Accidental access to the English language arts/literacy (ELA) summative assessment by English learner newcomers. We have received many reports of English learner (EL) newcomers (i.e., those who have been in the U.S. for less than one year) being administered the ELA summative assessment. A student’s score will not be used for federal accountability purposes. There is no need to take any action in this situation, either through completing a STAIRS form or submitting an appeal. The system will eventually flag tests in these cases with the code “NEL,” indicating an EL enrolled in a U.S. school for less than 12 months, who is exempt from taking the 2015–16 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for ELA and California Alternate Assessment for ELA. This code indicates that the ELA score will be excluded from aggregate calculations. Note: All recently arrived ELs are required to take the mathematics assessments.

  • Student transfers within testing period and partial test completion. We have received numerous STAIRS reports of students who move from one district to another during the test administration window. In many cases, they have completed the performance task at their previous district, yet the new district’s completion report will alert the LEA that the student needs to complete the new school’s assigned performance task. Note that as long as the previous district is in California and the system shows that the student has completed the performance task from the previous district, there is no need to retest the student. The system will eventually coordinate all of the tests that the student has taken.

Digital Library Featured Resource—Using Textual Evidence to Write and Present an Academic Summary

This month’s Digital Library featured resource, Using Textual Evidence to Write and Present an Academic Summary External link opens in new window or tab. (Digital Library account required), was submitted by Sasha Kirkman, a literacy coordinator at the Alameda County Office of Education and a member of the Digital Library State Network of Educators (SNE). This grade eleven ELA resource provides a sequence for teaching close reading, focusing on the guiding question, “Do we have the right to fail?”

Through the use of this resource, students learn to comprehend and critique the article, “The Right to Fail,” by W. Zinsser. The students complete a catalyst quick write, annotate text, collaboratively locate claims, and cite textual evidence using a reading guide. Then, they produce and present a “Rhetorical Précis” academic summary.

This resource can be used with all student groups and provides scaffolds specifically for students who are ELs.

Reminder: After using this or any other resource from the Smarter Balanced Digital Library External link opens in new window or tab. (Digital Library account required), you have an opportunity to benefit your fellow educators by writing a review of that resource in the Digital Library.

New Video in Formative Assessment in Action Series!

The third video in the Formative Assessment in Action series is now available! The video, titled “Digital Hybrid Socratic Seminar,” features SNE member Matthew Cowan, an instructional coach at Redlands Unified School District, demonstrating the formative assessment process as his grade nine ELA students debate the effects of texting and playing video games on student learning. The Socratic method is put to use in a unique manner, in which half of the students discuss the issue verbally while the other students debate via blogging software. This engaging 13-minute video is now available on the CDE Formative Assessment in Action web page.

Please share this email with any educators in your local educational agency who would be interested in or benefit from this information. To join the email list, send a blank email 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 | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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