Understanding California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance Reports

California’s New Student Score Reports

An academic checkup, tests 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. Like class assignments and report cards, assessments are one gauge of student progress, providing information to schools, teachers, and parents about how students performed in terms of California’s challenging new goals for learning.

Parents/guardians of students in grades three through eight and grade eleven are mailed Student Score Reports for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). These reports include detailed information about their child’s performance on new, computer-based tests for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, which replaced the former paper-based assessments.

Students receive an overall score for each subject, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000. Overall scores are reported within one of four levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met.

The new score reports also highlight students' strengths in key areas for both ELA and mathematics. ELA results include information about the students' performance in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and research. Reports of mathematics results include information about students' performance in problem solving, using concepts and procedures, and communicating mathematical reasoning. The student's performance in these key areas for each subject are reported using the following three indicators: below standard, at or near standard, and above standard.

For students in grade eleven, individual reports also will indicate their readiness for credit-bearing, college-level work and, if further preparation is needed, which areas to focus on in their senior year. For many students, that is the kind of information that can help make the dream of a college education become a reality.

For students in grades five and eight, Student Score Reports also will include student scores from the California Standards Tests for Science, a requirement of the federal government. California is in the process of developing a new state science assessment aligned with recently adopted science standards. California may also develop new assessments in other subjects, including history–social science aligned with state-adopted content standards.

Like the new learning goals they were designed to measure, the CAASPP tests for ELA and mathematics are too fundamentally different from the old assessments to make any reliable comparisons between old scores and new. That is why this year’s scores are better thought of as a starting point—a baseline for the progress students are expected to make over time.

Gradually, California is providing more support for teachers, more resources for students, and more access to technology. Because this is the first year students are taking these new tests, overall scores may be viewed as a basis from which to compare performance in future years.

Many if not most students may need to make significant progress to reach the standards set for mathematics and ELA that indicate college and career readiness. No student, parent, or teacher should 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, as well as help teachers and schools adjust instruction to meet student need.

The sample CAASPP Student Score Reports (PDF) file contains sample reports for students in grades four, five, and eleven. The following video is designed to assist parents in understanding the Student Score Report:

Reporting Achievement Level Descriptors

English Language Arts/Literacy Achievement Level Descriptors
  Standard Exceeded Standard Met Standard Nearly Met Standard Not Met
Grades 3–5 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in future coursework.
Grades 6–8 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school.
Grade 11 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after completing high school. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in English language arts/literacy needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school.
Mathematics Achievement Level Descriptors
  Standard Exceeded Standard Met Standard Nearly Met Standard Not Met
Grades 3–5 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in future coursework. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in future coursework.
Grades 6–8 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school.
Grade 11 The student has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school. The student has not met the achievement standard and needs substantial improvement to demonstrate the knowledge and skills in mathematics needed for likely success in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework after high school.

Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments

Area (Claim) Descriptors

English Language Arts/Literacy Area Achievement Level Descriptors
  Above Standard At or Near Standard Below Standard
Reading
Demonstrating understanding of literary and non-fictional texts
The student demonstrates a thorough ability to read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of literary and informational texts of high complexity. The student demonstrates some ability to read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of literary and informational texts of moderate complexity. The student does not demonstrate an ability to read closely and analytically to comprehend literary and informational texts of moderate complexity.
Writing
Producing clear and purposeful writing
The student demonstrates a thorough ability to produce compelling, well-supported writing for a diverse range of purposes and audiences. The student demonstrates some ability to produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences. The student does not demonstrate an ability to produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.
Speaking and Listening
Demonstrating effective communication skills
The student demonstrates a thorough ability to deliver information orally for a variety of purposes and audiences, and to critically interpret and use information delivered orally. The student demonstrates some ability to deliver information orally for a variety of purposes and audiences, and to accurately interpret and use information delivered orally. The student does not demonstrate the ability to deliver information orally for a variety of purposes or to accurately interpret and use information delivered orally.
Research/Inquiry
Investigating, analyzing, and presenting information
The student demonstrates a thorough ability to use research/inquiry methods as a way to engage with a topic and then analyze, integrate, and present information in a persuasive and sustained exploration of a topic. The student demonstrates some ability to use research/inquiry methods to explore a topic and analyze, integrate, and present information. The student does not demonstrate the ability to use research/inquiry methods to explore or produce an explanation of a topic. The student does not demonstrate the ability to analyze or integrate information through research or inquiry.

Area (Claim) Descriptors

Mathematics Area Achievement Level Descriptors
  Above Standard At or Near Standard Below Standard
Concepts and Procedures
Applying mathematical concepts and procedures
The student demonstrates a thorough ability to consistently explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency. The student demonstrates some ability to explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency. The student does not demonstrate the ability to explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency.
Problem Solving/Modeling and Data Analysis
Using appropriate tools and strategies to solve real world and mathematical problems
The student demonstrates the thorough ability to consistently solve a range of complex, well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem-solving strategies. The student demonstrates the ability to consistently analyze complex, real-world scenarios and can construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems. The student demonstrates some ability solve a range of complex, well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem-solving strategies. The student demonstrates some ability to analyze complex, real-world scenarios and can construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems. The student does not demonstrate the ability to solve a range of complex, well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem-solving strategies. The student does not demonstrate the ability to analyze complex, real-world scenarios and construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.
Communicating Reasoning
Demonstrating ability to support mathematical conclusions
The student demonstrates the thorough ability to clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support the student's own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others. The student demonstrates some ability to clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support the student's own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others. The student does not demonstrate the ability to clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support the student's own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others.