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April 18, 2016
Daring Greatly
September 28, 2016



It is that time of year again to talk testing.  As you may already know, each spring most students in California participate in the statewide testing program, which is now known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. The tests in the CAASPP System provide information to teachers, parents/guardians, and students about students’ progress and readiness for college and career. In grades three through eight and grade eleven, most students take the Smarter Balanced online tests for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. However, students who have a significant cognitive disability (as designated in their individualized education program) are eligible to take the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs). Students in 5th and 8th grades are also tested in science.


This year our testing window will be from Monday, May 9th through Friday, May 20th.  This year students in grades 3-8 will take the following assessments for ELA and mathematics:

  • Smarter Balanced tests for ELA and mathematics or
  • CAAs for ELA and mathematics


For 5th and 8th Grade Students:

  • One of the following assessments for science :
    • California Standards Test (CST) for Science
    • California Modified Assessment (CMA) for Science


Smarter Balanced Assessments


The Smarter Balanced online tests are based on the new California Content Standards, also known as the Common Core State Standards, for mathematics and ELA. While last year’s test results provided parents with baseline information on how their children were performing in ELA and mathematics, in 2016 parents will be able to compare results across two years (2014–15 and 2015–16) and determine their children’s progress in meeting California’s rigorous academic standards.


The California Department of Education (CDE) has developed several resources to help students and parents understand the grade expectations of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments:

·         The Parent Guides to the Smarter Balanced Assessments (in English and Spanish) are posted on the CDE’s CAASPP Web page, under the Students and Parents Tab, at Separate guides have been developed for each of the three grade spans tested: grades 3–5, grades 6–8, and grade 11. Each guide explains the grade-level expectations for students in ELA and mathematics and provides sample test items.

·         The practice and training tests, which can be found on the CDE’s Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests Web page at, can help parents and students

experience the type of test items that students will encounter on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Answers to the practice test and scoring rubrics for the performance tests are posted on the Test Administrator (TA) Resources for the Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests Web page at

For science, Grant started a transition to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) two years ago and has a goal of full implementation for the 2017-18 school year. There are now district wide expectations to begin instructional and resource alignment.  However, due to federal regulations, California is still mandated to administer the CSTs in science at grades 5, 8, and 10. These assessments are developed from the previous standards and not aligned to NGSS. According to the CDE, because the current science tests are not aligned with the new NGSS, the results will not be used in any accountability reports; however, the scores will be publicly available.


If you would like more information about the CAASPP System, please visit the Parent/Student tab of the CDE’s CAASPP Web page at


If you would like more information or resources about alternate assessments, please visit the CDE’s CAASPP Alternate Assessments Web page at


It is important to note that parents have the right to exempt their child from taking any of the CAASPP tests.  In order to do so, parents must annually submit a written request specifying the tests to be exempted.  Those exemption requests should be submitted to the District Office before the testing window opens.


I love this time of year because it provides our students the opportunity to show what they know.  As always, if you have any questions regarding your child’s participation or to opt out, please contact me at


Thanks for all that you do and GO COUGARS!


Mike Freeman


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