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Spring Testing

2018 Spring Testing

Spring Testing in April

Each spring students in grades 3-8, and 11 take the California Assessment of Student Performance & Progress (CAASPP) Summative Assessments.  These assessments are part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and administered through an on-line portal.  You can view practice and training tests at CAASPP.org. This year, our district testing window begins April 11, 2018. Testing time and dates vary by schools.  

Students take tests in:

  • Math: Grades 3-8, 11, online test and
  • English Language Arts: Grades 3-8, 11, online test
  • Science: Grades 5 ,8, and 12; online test


The new California Science Test (CAST) is a field test this year as the CAASP commission makes final revisions to go live with the test in the coming years.  Scores for this assessment will not be shared with districts, schools, and families.



The CAASPP Program includes: The Smarter Balance Math and English Language Arts Test, the pilot California Science Test, and the California Alternate Assessment. Teachers and parents can use the results to improve instruction and promote student learning. Individual student reports will be mailed home from the State of California in the fall of 2019.


California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) state-mandated assessments

California requires all school districts to administer Smarter Balanced assessments. These online assessments are designed to measure how well students are meeting new academic standards designed to prepare them for college, career and life.

Who: Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium (SBAC) tests in English Language Arts and Math;  Students in grades 5, 8 and 10 will be take the California Standards Test in Science.  

When: April 17 through May 19, 2017.  Make-up tests will extend into June.  Each school has developed its own schedule; contact your child’s school for specific testing dates.

Parent Guides
to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
Guía de los Padres
para las Evaluaciones Sumativas Smarter Balanced
Grades 3-5 Grados 3-5
Grades 6-8 Grados 6-8
Grade 11 Grado 11


Practice and training tests are available HERE.

Early Assessment Program (EAP)

The new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System will have a direct impact on the California State University’s (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP). Beginning in spring 2015, the CSU will use CAASPP English language arts/literacy and mathematics performance level outcomes to provide grade eleven students, their families, and their high schools early signals about students’ readiness for college-level coursework.

Juniors who intend to enroll at a CSU or a CCC are encouraged to release their results by selecting the “bubble” at the end of the CAASPP exam. The CAASPP results can be released to the CSU or CCC only through this process. Students who choose at the time of testing not to release their results, but decide later to do so, will be required to provide a copy of their CAASPP Student Score Report to the specific CSU campus or participating CCC.  See more information about the EAP at CSUSUCCESS


How does the SBAC test work? Smarter Balanced is taken in two parts

Both the English language arts and math assessments are organized in two sections:

Questions: Series of questions, estimated to take 1.5-2 hours  (tests are not timed)

Performance Task: One real-world problem requiring mulitple steps (and extended writing in language arts), estimated to take 1-2 hours (tests are not timed)

Assessments do not need to be administered all at once. Each can be given over several days to accommodate teaching and computer lab schedules.

Estimated Testing Times for Smarter Balanced Assessments

This table contains rough estimates of the time it will take most students to complete the Smarter Balanced assessments. This information is for scheduling purposes only, as the assessments are not timed.

Content Area Grades Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) items 
hrs : mins
Performance Task (PT)
hrs : mins
hrs : mins
Classroom Activity (administered prior to the PT)* 
hrs : mins
hrs : mins

English Language Arts/Literacy

3–5 1:30 2:00 3:30 :30 4:00
6–8 1:30 2:00 3:30 :30 4:00
HS 2:00 2:00 4:00 :30 4:30


3–5 1:30 1:00 2:30 :30 3:00
6–8 2:00 1:00 3:00 :30 3:30
HS 2:00 1:30 3:30 :30 4:00


3–5 3:00 3:00 6:00 1:00 7:00
6–8 3:30 3:00 6:30 1:00 7:30
HS 4:00 3:30 7:30 1:00 8:30

* Classroom Activities are designed to fit into a thirty-minute window; however, the time within the window will vary due to the complexity of the topic and individual student needs.


Smarter Balanced Tests require more complex thinking

Evidence: Students will not be able to simply skim-read or answer writing prompts based on personal opinion. The assessments demand close reading and evidence-based responses

Rigor:Students will not be able to rely as much on process of elimination to find an answer.  The assessment includes some multple choice with more than one answer as well as other demands for higher-level thinking.

Authenticity: It won't be enough to memorize formulas and apply them to a set of numbers out of context.  Smarter Balanced Assessments ask students to apply math concepts to real life situations, often requiring multiple steps.

Writing:Writing is now assessed at all tested grade level, with extended writing in English language arts. Even the math assessment includes some short answer writing.


Smarter Balanced is computer-based

Interactive:  More than just multiple-choice. students may be asked to drag and drop answers, complete a chart or highlight evidence.

Adaptive: Assessments confirm to ability; questions become more or less challenging for each student depending on the answers.

Supportive: The online platform, offer supports for all students, such as built-in calculators, highlighters, etc. More specific accommodations for students with special needs are available. (See below).



Scores are expected to be returned to schools within four weeks of assessment completion.  The Smarter Balanced score sheets will allow families to chart student's grade level growth over the years. Score numbers will range from about 2000-3000, with achievement levels from 1-4. Teachers and community members helped set these levels using data from 2014 field tests involving more than 3 million students.

Smarter Balanced is different enough that scores cannot be accurately compared to those of previous state tests, but families may be tempted to compare them anyway, especially if a student's level changes. Remember that scoring shifts are normal whenever more rigorous academic assessments are introduced; teachers and students need time to adjust.   Please know that these scores will be viewed as one assessment among many that will help our teachers measure student learning and growth.  Teachers and school officials will continue to recalibrate expectations. Everyone is working together to ensure student scores are viewed fairly as we continue to grow into this new academic expectation.

Follow this link to Understanding Spring Testing Scores.


Accessibility & Accommodations

‚Äč There are three levels of accommodations available to students:

  •  Universal tools such as calculators, dictionaries, and breaks are available for all students
  •  Designated supports such as translations of directions/glossaries and scribes are available when indicated by a teacher or other adult.
  •  Accomodations such as ASL, Braille, and read alouds are available only for students with 504s and IEPs.

Video tutorials of CAASPP Universal Tools, Designated Supports and Accommodations may be viewed HERE.

More information is available on the California Department of Education webpage regarding usability, accessibility and accommodations.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Other Resources


smarterbalanced logo.png





CAST Pilot Testing 

New for 2017 is the California Science Test (CAST)

According to the CA Department of Education, the CAST is for eligible students in grades five, eight, and once in high school. The CAST pilot test consists of 12 to 15 items with one performance task and a short survey and takes approximately one hour to complete. For this pilot test student scores will not be collected or reported.

For more information on the CAST, please click the link above.

See the video below for more information on the California Science Test and Next Generation Science Standards.