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Understanding Spring Test Scores

In the fall of 2016, DJUSD families received in the mail individual student score reports from California's Common Core-aligned testing system known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).  These are the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments administered last spring. DJUSD recognizes that families, students, and community members may have many questions about how to read the new score reports and what these results mean. This web page is intended to provide answers to common questions and additional resources. 
Watch the short video (see right column) for an overview of the new score reports from the California Department of Education.

Score Reports Frequently Asked Questions:

When will results from spring testing be released? 
Scores were mailed to families earlier this school year. This web page has been created to help answer some questions you may have about the reports. You may view a sample report available here.
How will the test results be used? 
These test results are just one tool teachers and families can use to better understand how well your student is performing in school. The scores are simply one way that families and teachers can use to discuss how far a student has progressed in mastering the new standards. Other school tests, for example, and classroom assignments provide equally important information. It is important to note that these results will not be used to determine if a student moves on to the next grade. 
How do I read my student’s score report? 
Please consult the CAASPP Guide for your child's grade level

Here’s a brief overview with a sample score report image below: 
Overall Score: In each subject area, your child receives a four-digit score that ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 points. This is the overall score, and it will be used to measure change in achievement over time.

Performance Levels: Overall scores are grouped into categories called “performance levels.” Each child receives an overall performance level for both English-language arts/literacy and for math. There are four performance levels for the overall score: Standard Exceeded, Standard Met, Standard Nearly Met, and Standard Not Met.

Results also show sets of skills: Within each subject area there is additional information for each set of skills that was measured. There are four sets in English-language arts/literacy and three in math.  Your child will receive one of three possible performance levels for each set: Above Standard, At or Near Standard, or Below Standard. This image shows what this looks like in the report.


How are DJUSD schools performing under the new assessments? 
DJUSD's 2015 and 2016 CAASPP results in English Language Arts and Mathematics may be viewed here.  Results indicate that, overall, students in DJUSD are doing well on these assessments but that we still have an achievement gap that needs to be addressed.
It’s important to remember that these new tests, and the new standards, are part of a long-term, comprehensive remodeling of our educational system, designed to better help teachers and families support student success. It’s natural that in such large-scale change, first-year scores would leave room for improvement.  
How do this year’s test results compare to previous years? 
Over the last year, through the implementation of Common Core Standards, new skills have been identified that students should master.  We have been teaching those skills and standards in new and novel ways, and we then assessed progress with the new test. The scores on this test will not be comparable to previous annual test scores, as the old test assessed a different set of skills. Additionally, we have raised expectations for what students should be able to do, so these results may show that fewer students have mastered the desired skills. This is OK because we are heading in the right direction. As students spend more time with the new curriculum, their skills will improve. When you receive these test results, please support your child in the areas that seem more challenging and take time to celebrate all the different ways in which your child has grown this year.


These tests cannot be compared to previous standardized testing programs like STAR because they are fundamentally different measurements. The CAASPP assessments are computer adaptive and personalized to individual students, measuring a wider range of skills and knowledge than previous pencil-paper tests. More importantly, the tests are a better measurement of the critical thinking skills and depth of knowledge needed to succeed in college and in the workforce. 

How will results be used by colleges and universities? 
For 11th-grade students, results are used for the Early Assessment Program (EAP), which is used by the California State University (CSU) system and some community colleges to determine whether a student is ready for college-level English and math courses. Student scores are also used to exempt students from some placement tests. More info: https://www.calstate.edu/eap/ or http://www.cccco.edu/eap
At this time, no public higher education system in California uses the EAP results for admission. 
What happened to the API?
The Academic Performance Index (API) for schools and districts has been suspended, so there will be no more API scores calculated. Parents will still get score reports for their students.   
Will test results be used for placement in Alternative Instructional Model (AIM)/GATE programs? 
AIM placement is not based on these assessments at this time.  

Video: Understanding your child's test scores

Entendiendo el Reporte de Calificaciones Individual de CAASPP del Estudiante del 2016

More Resources

California's Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System

CAASSPP Student Score Report Guidesshort documents that describe each part of the student score reports. They currently are available in English, with translations coming soon in ten different languages. 


Versión en Español—Muestra del reporte individual de los resultados 2015–16 de CAASPP