About 2016 CAASPP

The 2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System includes online and paper-based summative assessments:

  • Online
    • ­ Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments — English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics
    • ­ California Alternate Assessments — English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics
  • Paper-Pencil
    • ­ California Standards Tests for Science
    • ­ California Modified Assessment for Science
    • ­ California Alternate Performance Assessment for Science
    • ­ ­Standards-based Tests in Spanish—Reading/language arts (RLA)

Online Summative Assessments

Smarter Balanced

The Summative Assessments are comprehensive end of year assessments of grade-level learning that measure progress toward college and career readiness. Each test, English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics is comprised of two parts: (1) a computer adaptive test and (2) a performance task, administered within a selected testing window available at 66 percent of the instructional year for grades three through eight, or within in a selected testing window available at 80 percent of the instructional year for grade eleven.

The summative assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and mathematics. The tests capitalize on the strengths of computer adaptive testing—efficient and precise measurement across the full range of achievement and timely turnaround of results.


California Alternate Assessments (CAAs)

The California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) are online tests for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that designate the use of an alternate assessment to measure student progress on alternate achievement standards. These alternate assessments are a part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system, and replace the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for English language arts and mathematics. In the coming years, a new component aligned with new science standards will be incorporated into CAASPP and will replace the current CAPA for science assessment at grades 5, 8, and 10.

The CAAs give students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning by taking a test commensurate with their abilities. The CAAs use alternate achievement standards, called Core Content Connectors, to make the test more accessible for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Visit the CDE CAASPP System Web page at CAASPP California Alternate Assessments for more information and resources intended for parents about the CAAs, including sample questions and a parent brochure.

The CAAs are administered to each student individually. CAA items and tasks represent three different levels of complexity, and students' responses to the first set of test questions determine the complexity of the items that follow.

Paper-pencil Tests

California Standards Tests (CSTs) for Science

The CSTs for science in grades five, eight, and ten are administered only to students in California public schools. All questions are multiple-choice. These tests were developed specifically to assess students' knowledge of the California content standards for science. The 2016 CSTs were required for students who were enrolled in grades five, eight, and ten at the time of testing.

The CST for Science was administered to students in grades five, eight, and ten:

  • Grade five covered science content standards for grades four and five.
  • Grade eight covered science content standards for grade eight.
  • Grade ten (CST for Life Science) covered middle school life science and high school biology content standards.

The CST for science has 60 multiple-choice questions for each grade level.

California Modified Assessment (CMA) for Science

The CMA for science was administered to eligible students in grades five, eight, and ten. The CMA is a standards-based test for students with an individualized education program who meet the eligibility criteria adopted by the State Board of Education. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act called for a range of assessments appropriate to students' abilities. The CMA provides an appropriate assessment for a small percentage of students, allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge of skills in the California academic content standards for science.

The CMA for Science tests was administered to eligible students in grades five, eight, and ten.

The number of operational items in each CMA varies by content area and grade. There are 48 operational items on the CMA for science in grade five, 54 operational items on the CMA for science in grade eight, and 60 operational items on the CMA for Life Science in grade ten.

California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for Science

The CAPA is the paper-pencil alternate assessment for science. This test is designed for students in grades five, eight, and ten, who have an individualized education program and who have a significant cognitive disability. Students are required to participate in the CAPA science assessment until there is a successor assessment aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The CAPA is organized into four levels, representing specific grade spans. Most students eligible for the CAPA take the level corresponding to their enrollment grade. The CAPA tests were administered to eligible students in grades five, eight and ten.

Table 1. CAPA Levels
CAPA Levels Grades
I 5, 8 and 10
III 5
IV 8
V 10

Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS) Optional

The STS for Reading Language Arts (RLA) consists of multiple-choice tests in Spanish that assess RLA in grades two through eleven. Local educational agencies had the option of administering the STS for RLA to the Spanish-speaking English learners (ELs) in grades two through eleven who either were receiving instruction in Spanish or had been enrolled in school in the United States for less than 12 months at the middle of the testing window.

CAASPP Reporting Subgroups

Reports are available for all CAASPP assessments at the state, county, school district, and school levels for “All Students” and disaggregated for subgroups of students on the basis of the following criteria:

  • All Students
  • Disability Status
    • Students with No Reported Disability
    • Students with Disability
  • Economic Status
    • Economically Disadvantaged
    • Not Economically Disadvantaged
  • English-Language Fluency
    • Fluent-English Proficient and English Only
    • Initially Fluent English Proficient (I-FEP)
    • Reclassified-Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP)
    • English Learners Enrolled in School in the United States less than 12 months
    • English Learners Enrolled in School in the United States 12 months or more
    • English Learner (EL)
    • English Only
  • Ethnicity
    • Black or African American
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
    • Filipino
    • Hispanic or Latino
    • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    • White
    • Two or more races
  • Gender
    • Male
    • Female
  • Parent Education
    • Not a High School Graduate
    • High School Graduate
    • Some College (includes AA degree)
    • College Graduate
    • Graduate School /Postgraduate
    • Declined to State
  • Migrant
    • Migrant Education
  • Ethnicity for Economically Disadvantaged
    • Black or African American
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
    • Filipino
    • Hispanic or Latino
    • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    • White
    • Two or more races
  • Ethnicity for Not Economically Disadvantaged
    • Black or African American
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
    • Filipino
    • Hispanic or Latino
    • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    • White
    • Two or more races