CAASPP Testing

California Assessment of Student Performance and
Progress  (CAASPP)

What is CAASPP Testing?  PDF, 5 pages

California’s new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) set higher expectations for our students than ever before. These higher expectations were carefully developed by classroom teachers, community colleges, colleges, universities, and leaders in the workforce. They represent the skills that today’s students need to succeed in college, career and life --skills like critical thinking, problem solving and strong writing, so that our children are competitive with peers from around the world. 

The newest and largest component of CAASPP is the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), a modern, technology-based program, with students performing the assessments on computers.  These tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English and Math.  California adopted the CCSS in 2010 to support the knowledge and skills students need to be well prepared for college and careers, no matter where they come from or where they live.

This year, SCCS students will be participating in the CAASPP on various dates and times from March through May, and each grade level will be assigned specific weeks to take the exam.  This will support our students and staff in many ways including, the assurance of technology working smoothly, providing enough time for students to take the multiple components of the exam, and creating an environment conducive to thinking and learning.  Specific testing schedules, by site,  will be sent home with students beginning in early March.

Understanding your student score report:

State of California resources

**Parent Notification: outside source, information about their rights regarding opting out of high-stakes testing for their children
Pursuant to California Education Code Section 60615, parents/guardians may annually submit to the school a written request to excuse their child from any or all of the CAASPP assessments.

Notice of CAASPP Administration

Parent Guide to Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments

ENGLISH:   Grades 3, 4 & 5      Grades 6, 7 & 8       Grade 11

SPANISH:   Grades 3, 4 & 5      Grades 6, 7 & 8         Grade 11

Measuring these skills requires different types of test questions. With this in mind, this spring your child participated in the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessments. This assessment takes the place of the STAR tests. How are CAASPP tests different from STAR tests?

SBAC What parents and students should know:

Overview of CAASPP System, outside district source:

Participants include 3rd-8th and 11th graders. . .

In California, most students in grades three through eight and grade eleven will participate in the 2015–16 Smarter Balanced tests, which include both ELA and mathematics content areas. These tests are administered online. A student may be exempted from taking the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in three situations:
  • If the student is taking the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs)
  • If the student has been designated as an English learner and enrolled in school in the United States for less the 12 months may be exempted from the ELA portion of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment; or
  • If the parent has expressed in writing that his or her student should be excluded from taking the summative assessments.


There are new “Item Types” not just Multiple Choice. . .

  • Some questions were multiple choice but others required students to type their answers, to drag and drop things in different parts of the screen, to highlight critical parts of a reading passage, or to draw a graph
  • Questions require deeper thinking – it’s not as simple as choosing between 1 of 4 possible answers
  • Performance tasks (PT) are included. These tasks require students to participate in a classroom activity followed by completing a written task. The PT is designed to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and higher order thinking skills to explore and analyze a complex, real world scenario


We are testing in a new platform, on technology. . .

  • All students take the tests on a computer.  Most students will use a Chromebook device. 
  • Learn how to use the Embedded Tools! These short tutorial videos range between 0:12 sec to 1:42 min long. They demonstrate how to use the embedded tools within the Smarter Balanced Assessment platform. 

        Embedded Universal Tools

         Embedded Designated Supports

Get to know the Item Types!

Technology Enhanced items--Technology Enhanced Items are test questions featured on the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics portions of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core test. They differ from traditional test questions (like multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank) in that they involve doing more complex tasks in order to answer a question (such as drawing a line on a graph, for example). The pedagogical idea behind these questions is that they are more cognitively complex and therefore (1) require higher level thinking and (2) can offer more detailed assessment data to instructors.

Traditional Test Items --Traditional test items are question types commonly found on other types of assessment. Most students and teachers will be familiar with these question types. They include short answer, multiple choice, true-false, table entry.


Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz City Schools