State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that students have begun taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), the state’s computer-based, online assessments given in grades three through eight and 11.
“These tests in mathematics and English language arts/literacy are one of the many ways we measure how well students are doing at the challenging job of preparing for college and a career,” Torlakson said. “I encourage all students to take advantage of this opportunity to put their learning and their skills to the test.”
2016 marks the second year more than 3 million California students will take part in CAASPP, which was designed to gauge their progress toward the learning goals set for California students. Districts and schools select their individual testing dates.
The CAASPP asks students to demonstrate the kinds of abilities they will need to do well in college and the 21st century workplace – including analytical writing, critical thinking, and problem solving.
“Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to gauge students’ skills against the same academic standards in the same way, measuring millions with one common yardstick,” Torlakson said.
California moved to new, online, computer-adaptive assessments last year based on more challenging academic standards as part of its comprehensive plan to give every student the opportunity to graduate ready for college and to pursue a career. California is one of 20 members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which developed the assessments.
“Teachers and schools need more than a single end-of-year assessment to know how students are progressing and to tailor instruction to meet their academic goals,” Torlakson said. “That’s why California also provides both interim assessments and a Digital Library of high-quality materials and resources to help schools measure student progress throughout the year.”
Computer-based assessments, coupled with an online system to report results, can give school districts access to results earlier than the pencil-and-paper tests they replaced, allowing schools to make adjustments to improve learning and instruction.
CAASPP is particularly important for 11th grade students to gauge college readiness. Under the Early Assessment Program, more than 100 California State Universities and California Community Colleges will use CAASPP results to determine whether students are ready for college coursework or need additional courses in their senior year of high school.
“California is leading the way in moving from a top-down approach to testing to a system focused on gathering useful insights and helping schools put them to use by improving teaching and learning,” Torlakson said. “These changes take time to carry out, and it is important to remember that schools, teachers and students are still adjusting to our new standards and assessments. We know that real progress takes patience and persistence.”
In addition to the Smarter Balanced assessments, schools will be administering other exams throughout the spring including:
– California Alternate Assessment (CAA) – These tests in English language arts/literacy and mathematics will be administered to students in grades three through eight and 11 with significant cognitive disabilities. It replaces CAPA – the California Alternate Performance Assessment. These computer-based assessments are built around new, deeper learning goals – called the Core Content Connectors – which are linked to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The connectors focus on the main academic content from the standard for each grade and subject – with three levels of complexity to give all students an opportunity to demonstrate what they know.
– California Standards Test (CST), the California Modified Assessment (CMA) or the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for Science – students in fifth, eighth, and 10th grades will be administered a science examination. Students will either take the CST, CMA, or the CAPA depending upon a student’s individualized education program.
– Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS) – the STS is an optional assessment for English learners at no cost to an LEA or non-English learners (e.g., pupils in dual immersion classrooms) at the cost of the LEA. The STS for reading/language arts may be administered to students in grades two through 11.