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CAASPP Update, Issue 97

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) e-mail update sent out on April 15, 2015.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Update, from the California Department of Education (CDE), is a regular email for K–12 educators, including testing coordinators, that focuses primarily on the Smarter Balanced assessments, which are a major component of the CAASPP system. CAASPP also includes the California Alternate Assessments and science assessments. Please forward this email to any educators in your local educational agency (LEA) who would be interested in or benefit from this information.

In this issue:
  • Summative Assessments
  • Interim Assessments
  • Digital Library
  • CAASPP Stakeholder Meetings
  • California Alternate Assessment
Summative Assessments

CAASPP Update readers preparing for and carrying out the administration of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are strongly encouraged to regularly visit the CDE CAASPP System web page and CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. for new and updated resources and information. This week's updates include:

  • More than 400,000 students have been administered at least one Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment, and 485 LEAs have administered at least one test.
  • The materials developed by Smarter Balanced for use in its March 30 and 31 Webinar on communicating with stakeholders about the summative assessments are now available on the CDE CAASPP Communications Toolkit web page.
  • Answers to the most frequently asked questions this week regarding the use of accommodations on Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments:
    • The calculator is an allowed accommodation only for specific mathematics items.
    • To select stacked translations in Spanish, select Spanish for the language under Embedded Accommodations in the CAASPP Test Operations Management System (TOMS). Then, on the Test Administrator (TA) Interface, select the stacked translations designated support. Translated test directions in Spanish are automatically provided when stacked translations in Spanish are selected.
    • The CAASPP Individualized Aid Request Form External link opens in new window or tab. must be completed and submitted by the LEA CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator in order to assign the read aloud accommodation for the English–language arts (ELA) reading passages now available for students in grades three through five who have a need documented in an IEP or Section 504 plan. This accommodation was added to the list of allowable accommodations in the Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines, updated March 9, 2015.

The CAASPP website External link opens in new window or tab. contains a collection of up-to-date resources available to support LEAs in the training of staff and the administration of the summative assessments. In particular, the Test Administration and Training tabs are two key areas of the website that visitors should check regularly for useful and informative resources, such as manuals, instructions, videos, archived Webcasts, and checklists.

LEA CAASPP coordinators who are unable to locate the information they need in the online resources should contact CalTAC by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at

Interim Assessments

The Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments consist of two distinct types of interim assessments: the interim comprehensive assessments (ICAs), which are based on the same blueprints as the summative assessments; and the interim assessment blocks (IABs), which are shorter, more focused sets of items that measure one or more assessment targets.

Because the IABs focus on smaller sets of targets, these assessments provide more detailed information for instructional purposes. The IABs yield overall information for each block and help inform teachers about the strengths and weaknesses of students, allowing teachers to provide additional support as needed. Some suggested uses for IABs include assessing students who are new to the state or district, pre- or post-tests for a unit of instruction, and end-of-quarter assessments.

LEA staff are encouraged to use the IABs Table of Hand Scoring Requirements by Subject and Grade in planning for the administration and local hand scoring of IABs. Included in each table are the total number of items on each IAB. The total number of items shown includes both machine-scored and hand-scored items. Each table also provides the number of items (i.e., constructed-response and essay items) that require local hand scoring.

Digital Library

This week, Smarter Balanced is hosting two webinars to kick off a Digital Library Spotlight Forum Series External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), featuring two of the Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning (CBAL) modules in the Digital Library.

The webinars, which required advance registration and Digital Library access to view, will be followed by forum discussions May 4 through 8. Webinar participants and viewers are encouraged to try using the featured strategies in their own classrooms, and then join the Spotlight Forum discussions to share their experiences with others and provide feedback to the authors. For those unable to attend the live webinars, links to the recorded webinars and slide decks will be made available in the Digital Library next week.

LEA CAASPP coordinators who need assistance with registering new users for the Digital Library should contact the Digital Library Help Desk by phone at 855-631-1510.

CAASPP Stakeholder Meetings

Education Code Section 60640 calls for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to make recommendations to the State Board of Education (SBE) on the expansion of CAASPP by March 2016. In preparation, six in-person stakeholder meetings have been held to gather input. In addition to the meetings, two surveys have been developed to allow more voices to be heard in regard to the development of the stakeholder report and the SSPI’s recommendations. Please direct LEA staff to the surveys, as appropriate:

The surveys will remain open until close of business Monday, April 20, 2015. Your assistance and staff participation are greatly appreciated. It is anticipated that the stakeholder report will be made available at the July or September SBE meeting.
California Alternate Assessment

This week’s California Alternate Assessment (CAA) news and updates:

  • CAA Field Test. Today, LEAs began administering the CAA Field Test to eligible students. LEA CAASPP coordinators can designate students as well as select the students’ accessibility supports in TOMS. The field test will continue through June 10, 2015. Students will answer approximately 15 questions for ELA and 15 questions for mathematics. Each content area should take approximately 90 minutes to complete.
  • Learning Characteristics Inventory and Student Response Check. Examiners may find it helpful to complete the Learning Characteristics Inventory (LCI) before the testing session. The LCI is optional and is available within the CAA Online Testing Interface for each student. The LCI questions should be answered by the CAA test examiner before the start of testing for ELA or mathematics for each student on the basis of the test examiner’s familiarity with that student. Please note that responses will be aggregated; neither the test examiners nor the student will be identified in or by the results.

    CAA test examiners must administer a Student Response Check (SRC) to each student at the beginning of testing. The purpose of the SRC is to document that the student has a consistent and observable way to communicate his or her response to the test items, using the intended response mode(s), which can include using a mouse or keyboard, verbalizations, pointing/gesturing, and/or eye gaze through the use of an assistive communication device. These three questions will be the first questions asked for both the ELA and mathematics tests.

Reminder: Participation in the CAA by eligible students is not voluntary. State and federal law require all students to participate in statewide ELA and mathematics testing (in the prescribed grades). In California, all students shall take either the Smarter Balanced assessments or the CAA in grades three through eight and grade eleven.

Additional Information

To join the CDE CAASPP email list, send a blank email to Additional information about the CAASPP system and Smarter Balanced activities is available on the CDE CAASPP System web page. Questions about the CAASPP system assessments should be directed by phone to 800-955-2954, or by email to Questions about the Digital Library should be directed to the Digital Library Help Desk by phone at 855-631-1510 or by email to

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 9, 2018
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