State test results
The results from new computer-based California assessments will be reported to parents and students later this summer
This spring, Kern County students in grades 3-8 and 11 took part in the first-ever statewide administration of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English–language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These computer-based assessments align the Common Core State Standards and replace the paper and pencil, multiple-choice tests students took as part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program.
The new state assessment system that replaces the STAR program is called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). In addition to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, CAASPP also includes the following:
- Alternate assessments include ELA and mathematics assessments in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11, and the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for science in grades 5, 8, and 10.
- Science assessments in grades 5, 8, and 10 (i.e., California Standards Tests [CST], California Modified Assessment [CMA], and CAPA)
- Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS) for reading–language arts in grades 2 through 11 (optional).
The new Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are an important part of California’s plan for high-quality teaching and learning, which seeks to help all students graduate prepared for college-level coursework and a 21st-century career.
Similar to the assessments included in the old STAR program, the new assessment aim to provide an academic check-up, but were designed to give teachers more timely and informative feedback so they may improve instruction and better meet the needs of students. For instance, the new tests allow for a wider variety of questions and allow students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills. And, because the new tests are “adaptive” — meaning questions get more difficult or easier, depending on the test taker’s success on the previous question — the new tests are more accurate in providing information about an individual student’s performance.
How results will be reported
CAASPP student reports will be mailed to Kern County districts in late July. It is up to the district to provide reports to parents. Some districts may choose to mail them to parents later this summer, while others may elect to hand reports out at the beginning of the school year.
The reports will include detailed information about a child’s performance.
Students will receive an overall score for both ELA and math, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000. Overall scores will be reported within one of four levels:
- Standard not met
- Standard nearly met
- Standard met
- Standard exceeded
These new reports will also highlight students’ strengths in key areas called “claim areas” for both ELA and math. ELA results will include information about the students’ performance in four areas:
Reports of math results will include information about student’s performance in three areas:
- Problem solving
- Using concepts and procedures
- Communicating mathematical reasoning
The student’s performance in “claim areas” for each subject will be reported using the following three indicators:
- Below standard
- At or near standard
- Above standard
For students in grade 11, individualized reports will also indicate their readiness for credit-bearing college-level work – and if further preparation is needed, what areas to focus on in their senior year. For many students, that’s the kind of information that could help make the dream of a college education come true.
For students in grades 5, 8 and 10 individual reports also will include student scores from the California Standards Test for Science, a requirement of the federal government. California is in the process of developing a new state science assessment aligned with our recently adopted science standards. California may also develop new assessments in other subjects, including history social science aligned to state-adopted content standards.
After all individual student scores have been reported to districts, the state will release full results in late summer or early fall via a public reporting website — http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/. Results will be made available by school, district, county and the state, and will include mean scale scores and percent of students at each of the achievement levels.
Understanding your student’s results
Like the new learning goals they were designed to measure, the CAASPP tests in ELA and math are too fundamentally different from the old exams to make any reliable comparisons between old scores and new. That’s why this year’s scores are better thought of as a starting point — a baseline for the progress we expect students to make over time. Overall scores should only be viewed as a basis from which to compare performance in future years.
Because of the more rigorous nature of the Common Core Standards the new tests are assessing, many, if not most, students will need to make significant progress to reach the standards set for math and ELA that accompany college and career readiness.
Students, parents and teachers should not be discouraged by scores, which will not be used to determine whether a student moves on to the next grade. Rather, the results can help guide discussions among parents and teachers, and help teachers and schools adjust instruction to meet student needs.
Furthermore, it is important for parents to remember that annual state tests are only one measure of student performance. Other measures of student learning include grades and/or progress reports, chapter tests, classroom projects and other formative assessments.
CLICK HERE to download a sample of the CAASPP student report.