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Five Things You Didn't Know About California's CAASPP State Assessments

Posted by David Moadel

Jun 2, 2015 2:19:00 PM

If any K-12 public school educational assessment system could be called an "alphabet soup," it would be California's CAASPP assessments. The Common Core-aligned California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System—established January 1, 2014, via California Education Code Section 60640—will provide a balance of paper-pencil and online assessments in 2015 for students as young as second grade, all the way up to eleventh grade. 

The CAASPP assessments slated for 2015 implementation include (get ready for more letters than Santa's mailbox): the California Standards Tests (CSTs), California Alternate Assessments (CAA), California Modified Assessment (CMA), California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA), Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS), and the Smarter Balanced tests (SBAC).

To help you sort all of these assessments (and their accompanying letter formations) out, let's explore five things you might not be aware of when it comes to the CAASPP assessments.

1. Time alotted by grade level.

For the SBAC tests, California's public school students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 will take approximately seven to eight hours of exams in 2015. High schoolers will have the greatest amount of testing, with an approximate total of eight and a half hours of Smarter Balanced testing for these students.

2. Computer-based item types

Part of implementing the new SBAC tests means that students will now be taking exams on computers, and working on computer-based item types. These new items don't have multiple choice options, but instead require students to do interactive work on the screen to demonstrate knowledge of the concept being tested.

Check out LearnBop’s brand new Technology Enhanced Items (TEI) to see what these new computer-based item types will look like. Teachers can use these new items right now in the classroom to model mathematical thinking!


3. Where can I find practice tests?

Practice and training tests can be accessed anytime through the CAASPP Web portal. This portal also provides access to training and resources for test administrators.For teachers, there is access to classroom activity assignments related to California's SBAC tests.

4. Bandwidth issues, anyone?

With much of the CAASPP testing being conducted online, questions pertaining to bandwidth will surely arise. Fortunately, concerned stakeholders can check for 2015 CAASPP online testing readiness through the freely available bandwidth checker. (Go ahead, try it for yourself...It’s pretty neat!) 

Clicking on the link will take you to a "Diagnostic Screen" that will provide you with information on your computer's bandwidth, operating system, and browser security.

5. Alternate testing options.

For students with "significant cognitive abilities" there will be the California Alternate Assessment (CAA), based on the alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), which are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). 

The CAA tests are themselves being "field tested" from April 15, 2015 to June 10, 2015. From the CAA to the CMA to the CAPA, there's a lot for stakeholders to keep track of in the great state of California. We hope this post helps you keep track of it all!

Do your students need help learning math? Schedule a demo now to see how LearnBop can help.

About the Author


David Moadel is in his third decade working in education.  He has taught, mentored, and inspired students from elementary age through adult.  David has earned his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the American College of Education, and is currently a certified teacher in Florida.  David enjoys teaching, writing, and utilizing technology tools to communicate with people with diverse viewpoints across the globe.


Topics: Implementing the Common Core, Resources, State News

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