CAASPP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For more questions not listed in the FAQ, please visit the Get Answers web page.
About the CAASPP
What assessments are part of the CAASPP?
The CAASPP System consists of the following assessments:
- Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics
- Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments for ELA and mathematics
- California Alternate Assessments for ELA, mathematics, and science
- California Science Test
- California Spanish Assessment
What is the difference between practice and training tests?
Practice tests assess some of the standards that are included on the operational assessment and provide a preview of item types. Practice Test Scoring Guides are available on the Online Practice Test Scoring Guides and Directions for Administration (DFAs) web page.
Training tests are much shorter in length and are intended to allow students to become familiar with the various question types in the online testing platform. Some training tests do not have scoring guides.
Do practice and training tests produce scores?
No. Practice and training tests are intended to allow educators, parents/guardians, students, and other stakeholders, to become familiar with the format and functionality of the computer-based assessment and are not intended to produce results.
Where can I find blueprints for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, the California Science Test (CAST), and the California Spanish Assessment (CSA), and what do they contain?
The Smarter Balanced blueprints for ELA and mathematics identify the number of items, score points, and depth of knowledge for items associated with each assessment target.
The CAST blueprint identifies how test forms will be assembled, how test segments contribute to individual scores, and which performance expectations will be assessed.
The CSA blueprint identifies the number of items and points to be included in an operational assessment for each language arts domain assessed in grades three through eight and high school.
The blueprints are as follows:
Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
Which grade levels participate in the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments?
Students in grade levels three through eight and grade eleven participate in the Smarter Balanced assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics.
What are the components of the Smarter Balanced assessments?
The Smarter Balanced assessments are comprised of two components: the computer adaptive test and the performance tasks.
What is a performance task (PT)?
A PT is a part of the Smarter Balanced assessments that requires students to synthesize multiple sources of information, critically analyze, and develop an extended response to a real-world problem.
How many questions are in each segment of a computer-based assessment?
The number of test questions within a segment varies by content area, grade, and test type (i.e., computer adaptive test or performance task).
How should schools sequence and schedule the components of the Smarter Balanced assessments?
For the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, Smarter Balanced recommends that students take the performance task (PT) and computer adaptive test (CAT) portions on separate days. Smarter Balanced also recommends that students begin with the CAT portion and then the PT. Local educational agencies or schools may opt to administer the assessments in a different order, if needed.
What is the ratio of students to test administrators (TAs) or teachers during a test session?
There is not a required limit for CAASPP assessments. However, limiting the number of students to a standard class size for one TA is recommended. If the test is administered in a larger setting, such as a gymnasium, consider adding an additional proctor. The recommended limit is intended to avoid one person administering a test to more students than can be adequately monitored. Ensuring adequate bandwidth should also be a consideration when determining the size of the administration.
How long will the Smarter Balanced assessments take?
The estimated amount of time individual students need will depend on the grade level, content area, and type of items. The time estimates, for performance tasks (PTs) and the computer adaptive test (CAT) portion, do not reflect total computer lab time (including time needed to start computers, log students on, etc.); they estimate only the time students will spend testing for each content area (English language arts/literacy [ELA] and mathematics). Estimated testing times for the CAT portion of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments reflect the use of the Smarter Balanced adjusted forms.
|Content Area||Grade(s)||CAT Items in hrs:mins||PT in hrs:mins||Total hrs:mins|
English Learner Students
Will newly enrolled English learner (EL) students be assigned an English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessment in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
Yes. Regardless of enrollment date, EL students will be assigned the ELA assessment in TOMS . If the local educational agency CAASPP coordinator or the CAASPP test site coordinator determines that an individual student is eligible for a one-time exemption because the student has been enrolled in a U.S. school for less than 12 months as determined on or after April 15 of the previous school year, the student should not take the ELA assessment. There is not a field to enter this in TOMS and no additional action is required.
Can an exempt English learner (EL) student take English language arts/literacy (ELA) components?
Yes. An EL student who is technically exempt can still take the ELA assessment upon request by the student's parent/guardian. The local educational agency CAASPP coordinator or the CAASPP test site coordinator must ensure that the student is registered for the correct assessment in the Test Operations Management System and that the student's demographic data in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System is configured appropriately.
Which entry date into the U.S. school system determines if an English learner (EL) student needs to take the English language arts/literacy assessment?
Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, Section 850(w) , a recently arrived EL student is one who is in the first 12 months of attending school in the U.S. as determined on or after April 15 of the previous school year.
California Alternate Assessments for English Language Arts/Literacy, Mathematics, and Science
How do I determine the California Alternate Assessment form assignment for a school site?
Form assignments for the English language arts/literacy (ELA), mathematics, and science assessments are available on the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) web page. Please note that ELA and mathematics form assignments may be different from form assignments for science.
Where are the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) Directions for Administration (DFAs)?
The CAA DFAs are located in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) . These documents should be stored securely and, when no longer needed, destroyed securely.
You can access these DFAs in TOMS as follows:
- Select the [Resources] button in the top navigation bar.
- Select either CAA for ELA and Mathematics DFAs or CAA for Science DFAs from the Available Materials list.
- Select the button corresponding with the grade level being tested.
- Scroll down the page to find the form number assigned.
- Select a PDF link to initiate the download process.
How do I calculate whether my local educational agency (LEA) exceeds the 1 percent threshold of students using the California Alternate Assessment?
Access the CAASPP LEA-Level Student Test Assignment Report in the Test Operations Management System to view how many test assignments are distributed between the general assessment and the alternate assessment; this information is not calculated at the school level. Do not use other means to calculate this information. Refer to the California Department of Education One Percent Threshold on Alternate Assessments web page for additional information.
What are the eligibility requirements for the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs)?
Please refer to the California Department of Education Alternate Assessment IEP Team Guidance web page for the definition of "eligible students" as it applies to students who take the CAAs. The California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System education program code (field 3.13) must be set to "special education" (value 144), the primary disability category (field 3.21) must not be blank, and the enrollment code must be either 10 or 30. Please note that there is no age limit, and eligibility to test is based on a student's enrolled grade level.
What do California Alternate Assessment (CAA) test examiners (TEs) need to complete to be certified to administer the CAAs?
TEs are required to complete the CAA Test Examiner Tutorial, which is available on the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) web page. Upon completion of the tutorial, TEs must present their resulting completion certificate to their CAASPP test site coordinator or local educational agency CAASPP coordinator. To receive the TE's online Certificate of Completion in science, English language arts/literacy and mathematics, or both, participants must view each video completely and answer Checks for Understanding questions correctly.
Does a test examiner (TE) or the computer read the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for English language arts/literacy (ELA), mathematics, or science questions to the student, or must the student read the questions?
The TE reads the CAA for ELA, mathematics, or science questions to the student. The script in the Directions for Administration (DFA) contains the exact wording that must be read aloud to the student, except when general adaptations are given. Pictures or other visual materials within the assessment may be described as needed for a student with visual impairment using the alternative text provided in the DFA.
Can students pause and resume the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for English language arts/literacy, mathematics, or science?
Yes. The pause-and-resume feature can be used throughout the day, over several days, and at any time during the test administration window. The CAAs are untimed and can be administered over as many sessions and days as needed. The assessment may be paused and resumed as many times as necessary to elicit the student's best performance.
What happens if a student is logged off after 30 minutes of inactivity while taking the California Alternate Assessments?
A student is automatically logged off the system after 30 minutes of inactivity. Logging back on to the assessment will return the student to the last unanswered question.
Will the student be able to continue the test at the last unanswered question or change previous answers while taking the California Alternate Assessments?
Yes. The student will be able to return to previous questions—at the stage of the assessment where the student last left off—to change answers for the English language arts/literacy and mathematics assessments.
If a student is eligible to take one California Alternate Assessment (CAA), does the student need to take the CAA in all subjects?
If a student is eligible to take an alternate assessment, the student must take the CAA in all subjects for which the assessment is available in the student's grade level.
If an English learner (EL) student is eligible and assigned to take the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs), how is the student assigned to take the Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)?
If the individualized education program team determines the EL student would benefit from an alternate assessment, then the student must take all California state alternate assessments, including the locally determined alternate English language proficiency assessment as well as the CAA(s) appropriate for the student's grade level. If an EL student is designated for the CAAs by the local educational agency CAASPP coordinator, then the student will be designated for the Alternate Summative ELPAC as well (and vice versa) in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS). Cross program designation is automatically applied by TOMS.
What is the Student Response Check (SRC)?
The SRC establishes whether the student communicates consistent and observable responses to test questions. The outcome of the SRC determines whether the rest of the assessment should be administered for the student. The Directions for Administration contains specific instructions on how to administer the SRC.
In the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for English language arts/literacy and mathematics, the SRC is administered using the first four test questions. The CAA for Science does not include an SRC. Instead, the test examiner has a "no response" option that can be selected if the student is not engaging with the test.
California Alternate Assessment for Science
When is the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science testing window?
The CAA for Science is administered as four separate embedded performance tasks (PTs) that are integrated into each student's instruction. Embedded PTs are available for administration any time, in any order, between September and the end of the instructional year or July 15, whichever comes first. This is different from the selected testing window set by the school.
All four embedded PTs must be attempted during this period for a student to be considered as having participated in the CAA for Science.
Please note that each embedded PT expires 45 calendar days after logging a student on to the test delivery system. This 45 calendar day expiration date applies only to an embedded PT that the student logged on to and attempted.
How should I use the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science administration planning guides?
The administration planning guides provide local educational agencies with basic information about the CAA for Science and test security, the Science Connectors, and a schedule planning template to assist in deciding the best time to administer the four embedded performance tasks throughout the instructional calendar. The grade-level and form-specific guides, and form assignments, can be found on the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) web page.
What is individualization and how do I know which items to individualize?
Individualization is the process of adapting the orienting activity or item to meet individual student needs, based on the educator's knowledge of the student and the needs identified in the student's individualized education program. The Directions for Administration contain information on what can be individualized.
What is an orienting activity?
An orienting activity is a nonscorable activity that is designed to engage and familiarize the student with a science concept that was taught previously. The purpose of an orienting activity is to reengage the student with the content prior to administering the assessment. For example, an orienting activity might contain a video that shows the student a cotton ball and a penny, and then categorizes each object as either having a hard property or a soft property.
Test examiners can individualize either an orienting activity or some items to best meet the needs of the student, as indicated in the student's individualized education program. The Directions for Administration contains specific instructions on what can be individualized within a grade-level assessment.
How do I know which students in my school have completed their science requirement by taking all four embedded performance tasks (PTs)?
There are four reports in the Test Operations Management System that will track student-level completions, which will allow local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinators and test site coordinators to know when a student in their organization has completed all four embedded PTs:
- LEA-Level High School Participation Report for the California Science Test (CAST) and the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science
- CAASPP Student Completion Status Summary Report (for the LEA)
- CAASPP School-Level High School Participation Report for the CAST and CAA for Science
- CAASPP School-Level Student Completion Status Report
California Science Test
What types of questions are in the California Science Test (CAST)?
The CAST consists of stand-alone or discrete questions and performance tasks. Questions can be multiple choice, where the student selects one or more options; constructed response, where the student writes a text response; or technology enhanced, where the student performs an action (such as indicating a part of a graphic), selects an option from a drop-down menu, completes a data table or diagram using drag-and-drop functionality, or otherwise responds in a way that takes advantage of the online test delivery platform.
What are the differences between the California Science Test (CAST) discrete items and performance tasks (PTs)?
The test is divided into two sections, one with discrete (stand-alone) test items and the other with PTs (a group of test items developed for a single science concept or phenomenon). Segments within a section are presented in random order:
- Segments 1 and 2 contain discrete test items.
- Segment 3 contains either discrete test items or a PT.
- Segments 4, 5, and 6 are PTs, with four to six test items included in each. Students will receive at least one PT from each of the three science domains: Earth and Space Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences.
A review screen at the end of each test segment prompts students to review their answers in that segment. When administering the CAST over multiple sessions, it is recommended that the test be paused at the end of a test segment. The last portion of the CAST is a brief student survey that will assist with improving the test. View the Organization of the California Science Test flyer for more detail.
Which students will participate in the California Science Test (CAST)?
Students will take the CAST in grades five and eight, and once in high school (i.e., grade ten, eleven, or twelve). All students in grades five and eight are automatically registered for the CAST in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) . Local educational agencies that want to administer the CAST to a student in grade ten or eleven must assign the CAST to the student in TOMS. If a grade twelve student has not already taken the CAST in grade ten or eleven, TOMS will automatically register that student for the CAST. Students who are repeating grade twelve are not eligible to test. View the Science Test Administration for High School Students for more information.
How do I know which high school students in my school have completed their science testing requirement?
There are two reports in the Test Operations Management System that will track student-level completions, which will allow local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinators and test site coordinators to know when a student in their organization has completed science testing:
- CAASPP LEA-Level High School Participation Report for the CAST and CAA for Science
- CAASPP School-Level High School Participation Report for the CAST and CAA for Science
Is the California Science Test (CAST) computer adaptive?
No. The CAST is not adaptive.
How many segments are in the California Science Test (CAST)?
The CAST is divided into six test segments and one student survey. All students will receive two discrete item segments in test segments 1 and 2 and three performance task (PT) segments in test segments 4, 5, and 6. In Segment 3, the test delivery system will randomly assign students to receive either a discrete item segment or a PT segment.
How many items are there on the California Science Test (CAST)?
The number of items a student will receive depends on the test segments the student is assigned; therefore, a student may get 44 to 61 items. The discrete item segments contain between 8 to 12 items. Students will receive two or three discrete item segments and three or four performance tasks, which contain 12 to 18 items. Please refer to the California Science Test Blueprint web document for more information about CAST test segments.
How long does it take to administer the California Science Test (CAST)?
The average time for students to complete the CAST is approximately two hours. However, the CAST is an untimed test, so students can take as long as they need to complete it. Each of the test segments is expected to take approximately 20–25 minutes. The time estimates do not reflect total computer lab time (including the time needed to start computers, log students on, etc.).
Can multiple grade levels take the California Science Test (CAST) in a single test session?
Yes. You may administer the CAST to multiple grade levels or with different content area assessments in one single test session.
When does the California Science Test (CAST) expire?
The CAST testing opportunity remains active until the student completes and submits the assessment, up to 45 calendar days after the student logs on to the assessment or when the testing window ends. The time limit of 45 calendar days includes all six segments of the CAST (i.e., discrete items, performance tasks, and a student survey).
How will a test administrator (TA) know a student's progress when taking the California Science Test?
TAs have the ability to view the segment and question number that a student is currently answering. For example, if a student is on Segment 2, the TA Interface might display "Segment: Discrete Items" and "21/34." This should help TAs monitor their students' progression through the assessment and pause the assessment before students begin a new segment—especially a performance task (PT)—if there is not enough time to complete the PT. TAs can determine which segment a student is on by observing the number of questions presented to the student.
How will students know their progress on the California Science Test (CAST)?
Students will be able to track how much of the CAST they have completed using the progress bar on the student's screen. They also will be presented with their current question number as well as a drop-down list with the numbers of the questions they already have answered. Students will be asked to review their answers before continuing to the next segment. They will not be able to go back to a previous segment after moving on to the next.
Do students know when a test segment has ended?
Yes. Students will be asked to review their answers before continuing to the next test segment. They will not be able to return to the previous segment after moving on to the next segment.
What calculators are available for students during the California Science Test (CAST)?
Students may use a Desmos calculator as a universal tool when taking the CAST. The calculator is available for use on all items. This is the same Desmos calculator used in the Smarter Balanced mathematics assessment. These calculators are available in the CAST practice and training tests and are fully accessible. For grade five, students use a four-function basic calculator . For grade eight and high school, students use a scientific calculator . Encourage students to try the calculator prior to testing by taking the practice and training tests, or by visiting the Desmos website. If a student requires a physical calculator, the calculator must be assigned to the student as a non-embedded designated support indicating use of a non-embedded calculator.
California Spanish Assessment
Is the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) mandatory?
No. The CSA is an optional assessment. Local educational agencies (LEAs) can administer the assessment to any number of students within the LEA, as appropriate (i.e., you can test one student, one class, one school, etc.).
Why should my local educational agency (LEA) administer the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
The following are benefits of the CSA administration:
- Provides a measurement of Spanish reading and language arts competency
- Informs instructional practices and program design
- Promotes bilingualism and biliteracy
- Provides LEAs with a means to evaluate their Spanish language programs
What does the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) assess?
The CSA assesses reading, writing mechanics, and listening in Spanish. The CSA is delivered entirely in Spanish. However, three demographic questions at the beginning are delivered in both Spanish and English.
To which standards are the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) aligned?
The CSA is aligned with the California Common Core State Standards en Español , which are a translation of the California Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy and include linguistic augmentations specific to the Spanish language.
Who can or should take the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
- Students seeking a measure that recognizes their Spanish-specific reading, writing mechanics, and listening skills should take the CSA.
- Students receiving instruction in Spanish, including students with any level of Spanish language skill, can take the CSA.
Which grade levels participate in the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
- Students in grades three through eight and high school (grades nine through twelve) participate in the CSA.
- There is a grade-level assessment in each of grades three through eight and one assessment in high school. High school students may take the CSA once per year.
When is the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) testing window?
The test administration window for the CSA is available beginning in January through July. The testing window closes on the last day of school or July 15, whichever comes first.
Is the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) a computer adaptive test?
No. The CSA is a computer-based, nonadaptive, linear assessment.
Is there a paper–pencil version of the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
No. The CSA is administered entirely online.
How can my local educational agency (LEA) participate in the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
As with other CAASPP assessments, use the Test Operations Management System to manage the administration of the CSA. LEA CAASPP coordinators, in cooperation with test site coordinators, must assign the CSA to students in their selected LEA who are expected to take the CSA. A subset of schools within an LEA, or students within a school, can be administered the CSA. The CSA is completely voluntary.
How do I assign students to take the California Spanish Assessment (CSA)?
The local educational agency CAASPP coordinator can assign students one at a time or upload a Test Assignments file in the Test Operations Management System to assign the CSA to a group of students.
How long will it take to administer the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) and can it be completed over multiple sessions?
The administration of the CSA takes approximately two hours. Note that the CSA is an untimed assessment, but most students complete it within two hours. The time estimate does not reflect total computer lab time (including the time needed to start computers, log students on, etc.); it is only an estimate of the time students will spend testing.
What are the demographic survey questions?
At the beginning of the California Spanish Assessment, there are three student-specific demographic questions. The test administrator should guide students through this survey, as accuracy is paramount. The questions are presented in both Spanish and English. The three survey questions are as follows:
- Did you receive instruction in Spanish in the 20XX–XX school year? ¿Recibiste educación en español en el año escolar 20XX–XX?
- Yes (Sí)
- No (No)
- Which program were you enrolled in? ¿En qué tipo de programa escolar estuviste matriculado/inscrito?
- One-Way Immersion (Inmersión únicamente para hablantes de español)
- Dual-Language Immersion (Inmersión para hablantes de español y de inglés)
- Developmental Bilingual (Programas de desarrollo del idioma)
- Heritage Language or Indigenous Language (Programas para hispanohablantes [hablantes de español])
- Spanish as a foreign language (i.e., Spanish I, Spanish II, etc.) (Español como lengua extranjera [es decir, Español I, Español II, etc.])
- None of the above (Ninguno de los anteriores)
- What percentage of your school day instruction was provided in Spanish? ¿Qué porcentaje de tu educación diaria recibiste en español?
Student Accessibility Resources and Test Settings: Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations
What designated supports and accommodations are available for CAASPP testing?
Educators and test examiners should refer to the California Department of Education CA Assessment Accessibility Resources Matrix web page.
All accessibility resources must be loaded in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) using the TOMS upload file, Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile Tool, or manual selection. Designated supports are available to all students when determined for use by an educator or team of educators (with parent/guardian and student input, as appropriate) or specified in the student's individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan. If specified in a student's IEP or Section 504 plan, accommodations must be permitted on CAASPP tests for all eligible students.
Educators should use the Online Practice and Training Tests to provide students with the opportunity to use these accessibility resources within the test delivery system.
What is the online test settings deadline for the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
The online test settings must be assigned in TOMS before the student begins the first assessment.
Do California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) flags for individualized education program designations need to be activated to select accommodations?
Yes. For summative assessments, for the student to be eligible to receive accommodations, the CALPADS education program code field must be set for "special education" (value 144) and provide a primary disability category or "504 Plan" (value 101). Students must also be assigned to the correct test prior to adding an accommodation in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) . Accommodations must be set in TOMS by the local educational agency CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator.
Will a recent upload of student test settings override the last student test settings upload into the Test Operations Management System?
Yes. When uploading student test settings in a batch file, a new update file will only overwrite existing test settings for students who are included in the file. Any students whose test settings were updated previously can be removed from the file if they no longer require new or additional settings.
If a student requires additional settings that were not included in the original upload, the student must have all settings from the original upload reset at the same time as the new settings, or the system will overwrite these previous settings.
How soon can a local educational agency (LEA) start uploading the accommodations and designated supports for students in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
LEA CAASPP coordinators and test site coordinators have the ability to start uploading as soon as their students appear in TOMS . Designated supports and accommodations must be set by the LEA in which the student is enrolled before the student begins testing.
Have students' settings from the previous test administration been preserved?
Student settings do not carry over from year to year in the Test Operations Management System . Designated supports and accommodations must be reassigned for the current test administration.
When specified accommodations and designated supports are entered into the Test Operations Management System (TOMS), how soon do they become available for students? Is it the same for interim and summative assessments?
Enrollment data in TOMS , including specified accommodations and designated supports for interim and summative assessments, is updated in a background process that happens every few hours. Local educational agency CAASPP coordinators and CAASPP test site coordinators should update accommodations and designated supports at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled testing time, to avoid testing irregularities caused, for example, by delays in updating caused by large file sizes or the number of files in the queue.
Will a local educational agency (LEA) have to set designated supports and accommodations for late-enrolling students in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
No. If a student's test settings have been properly set in TOMS , they will move with the student to whichever LEA the student is enrolled in next.
Once schools assign test settings for students in the Test Administrator (TA) Interface, will these apply for both interim and summative assessments?
Test settings in the TA Interface for the interim assessments are for that test session only and are not related to the settings assigned in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) for student use in the summative assessments. The only way to assign test settings for the summative assessments is for the local educational agency CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator to make the assignments in TOMS.
Do California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) flags for individualized education program designations need to be activated to select accommodations for the interim assessments?
For interim assessments, the test administrator (TA) can select any accommodation in the TA Interface for a student's interim assessment, regardless of what is specified in CALPADS.
How are accessibility resources for the interim assessments set?
The resource settings for the interim assessments can be set in one of the following ways for a student in any grade level:
- Test settings can be added one by one in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) on the View and Edit Students page or through the "Online Test Settings" batch upload template on the Students Upload page in TOMS. Using one of these methods also will assign the test setting for whatever summative assessments the student takes.
- Authorized users can assign test settings for interim assessments one by one in the Test Administrator Interface; however, those test settings are only valid for a single test session and are not preserved for any future administration of a summative or interim assessment.
Where text-to-speech is not available, can the test administrator read the assessment aloud?
Read-aloud is only permitted in the following limited circumstances: as a non-embedded designated support for mathematics questions and English language arts/literacy (ELA) questions, as a non-embedded accommodation for ELA passages in grades six through eight and grade eleven, and for students with visual impairment in grades three through eight and grade eleven who do not yet have adequate braille skills.
Are students allowed to use non-embedded calculators on tests?
Students who are unable to use the embedded calculator for calculator-allowed items will be able to use the calculator that they typically use, such as a braille calculator or a talking calculator. Note that "braille" and "talking" are examples of calculators, but this allowance is not limited to these examples.
It's up to the individualized education program team to determine if the student is unable to use the embedded calculator. The test administrator must ensure that the student's calculator includes functions consistent with those of the embedded calculator, and that it does not have internet or wireless connectivity.
Are there translated test directions for the Smarter Balanced and California Science Test (CAST) assessments?
Can the "Keyboard-Commands-for-Students" be printed for students to use?
Yes. The Keyboard Commands for Students web document provides keyboard commands that students can use to navigate between test elements, features, and tools. Test administrators can print this document out for students to use as a tool during testing.
May scratch paper or graph paper be retained between sessions?
Printed test items or stimuli, including embossed braille printouts, scratch paper, and graph paper must be collected and inventoried at the end of each test session and then immediately shredded. Do not keep printed test items or stimuli or scratch paper for future test sessions, unless a student is taking a performance task (PT) that requires multiple test sessions.
Test administrators should ensure that students write their names (or some other personal identifier) on the scratch paper, collect students' notes at the completion of a test session, and then securely store the scratch paper. The scratch paper should be redistributed for students' use during a subsequent PT test session.
Are global notes retained during a test session?
When notes are used during the English language arts/literacy performance tasks, the notes on the embedded notepad ("global notes") are retained from Part 1 to Part 2 so the student may go back to the notes even though the student is not able to go back to specific items in Part 1. While the embedded notepad is the preferred mode for note taking, students may use scratch paper to make notes.
Why will local educational agencies (LEAs) need printers?
LEAs may need printers for the students who have print-on-demand as an accommodation. This accommodation allows for paper copies of either passages and stimuli, items, or all of these to be printed for students.
How can a student use speech-to-text on an assessment?
The speech-to-text accommodation is available as an embedded resource. External assistive technology devices are not required. Please note that speech-to-text is not available for the California Alternate Assessments.
A student can also use third-party, speech-recognition software. However, while there are no recommendations for third-party software, a student's device should come with a free version. A student should use what the student is familiar with. Note the following about using third-party, speech-to-text recognition software:
- Set the student's accommodation to permissive mode.
- Supply the student with a headset and microphone.
- Launch the speech recognition software, and then open the secure browser.
User Management in the Test Operations Management System
The password link expired. What do I need to do to get a new link?
To get a new link, select "Forgot Your Password?" on the logon page or on the logon error message page to have a temporary password sent to the user's email address. Users should check their spam and junk mailboxes for an email from email@example.com . If users do not receive an email from the Test Operations Management System, local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinators may contact their assigned LEA Success Agent to have passwords reset. Site CAASPP coordinators should contact their LEA CAASPP coordinators, and test administrators and test examiners should contact their site CAASPP coordinator.
How can I add a user in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
Local educational agency CAASPP coordinators and site CAASPP coordinators can add users to TOMS either one at a time or through batch file upload, using a template to add several users at once.
In TOMS, on the top navigation bar, select the [Users] tab:
- To add users one at a time, select the [Add] tab.
- To add several users at once, select the [Upload] tab.
- To edit a single user role, select the [View & Edit] tab.
Then follow the respective page instructions.
Do you have to add CAASPP users to the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) if they are already in TOMS for the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)?
Yes. User roles must be assigned in TOMS separately for CAASPP and the ELPAC. However, single sign-on allows CAASPP and ELPAC system users to use a single username and password to access all the California assessment-related systems.
What is the difference between a test examiner (TE) and a test administrator (TA)?
TEs must be a credentialed or licensed employee at the local educational agency and have the responsibility to administer the California Alternate Assessments. TEs also have the ability to administer the general summative assessments and interim, practice, and training tests to students.
TAs have the responsibility to administer the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, California Science Test, California Spanish Assessment, and interim, practice, and training tests to students.
Do I have to add each individual who will be administering the CAASPP?
Yes. Local educational agency CAASPP coordinators and site CAASPP coordinators need to add each individual educator as a test administrator or test examiner, either one at a time through the user interface or all at once via batch file upload. Every newly added user must sign an electronic Test Security Affidavit upon logging on to the Test Operations Management System prior to administering the summative assessments.
How do superintendents designate a local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinator every year?
Superintendents must designate a primary LEA CAASPP coordinator for the upcoming administration year in the Test Operations Management System . Detailed instructions are found on the Designate Users web page.
Can a local educational agency (LEA) have multiple coordinators?
Yes. In addition to the primary LEA CAASPP coordinator, the superintendent may designate additional secondary LEA CAASPP coordinators through the same process described on the Designate Users web page.
If a user has a user role for both CAASPP and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS), will the user use the same logon for both?
Yes. If a user has been assigned roles for both programs, the user will have the same logon credentials for the CAASPP and ELPAC TOMS roles. Immediately after logging on, the user will have to choose which role to use. However, the user will be able to change roles while still logged on.
What are the technology requirements for administering the CAASPP computer-based assessments?
Information about supported technology, technology requirements, and systems requirements for online testing is in the CAASPP and ELPAC Technical Specifications and Configuration Guide for Online Testing .
How do I determine a student's technology readiness?
The Technology Readiness Checker for Students (TRCS) is a game-like tool students navigate to create a storyboard. The navigation through the TRCS is similar to the navigation used in a computer-based assessment and can be used to identify the student's technology readiness. The TRCS is not an assessment, does not provide scores, and is entirely optional. The TRCS can be accessed from the Technology Resources web page.
Can students use their mobile devices to complete the assessments?
Yes. Students may test on any tablet that meets the technology requirements for online testing. Please refer to the CAASPP and ELPAC Technical Specifications and Configuration Guide for Online Testing .
How do I access the secure browser for the computer-based CAASPP assessments?
A secure browser is required on every student device for online testing. Instructions for downloading the secure browser can be found on the Secure Browsers web page.
My school has already downloaded a secure browser for statewide testing. Do we need to download another secure browser?
Yes. Secure browsers are normally released in June, prior to the start of the administration. School personnel must annually download the most up-to-date secure browser for online testing. The secure browser used for the CAASPP is the same secure browser used for the computer-based English Language Proficiency Assessments for California. For additional information, please visit the Technology Resources web page.
Are nontesting students allowed in the classroom while the CAASPP is being administered?
No. The CAASPP Test Security Affidavit that test administrators signed (see excerpt from California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 859 in the following) states that no one who is not actively part of the assessment should be in the room while testing occurs. However, students who participated in the test session but have finished testing may remain in the classroom.
Section 859. CAASPP Test Security Agreement and Test Security Affidavit.
(4) I will limit access to the achievement test(s) and corresponding test materials by test examinees to the actual testing periods when they are taking the test(s). I understand that only pupils who are testing and LEA staff participating in the test administration who have electronically agreed to a CAASPP Test Security Affidavit may be in the room when and where an achievement test is being administered.
What if a nontesting student was in the classroom while the CAASPP was administered?
The local educational agency (LEA) must submit a case in the Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System (STAIRS) for the students who were assessed with others in the testing room, to provide a record of the situation. The reporting of this testing irregularity will not affect student results.
STAIRS cases will need to be entered in a specific way to process these requests. Please follow these steps to submit cases for the affected domains:
- Input required details on the New STAIRS page in the Test Operations Management System . Select the [NEXT] button.
- On the Testing Issues page, select the radio button for the testing incident type for Administration Error. Select [NEXT].
- Select the testing incident description that states "Instructions were not corrected prior to testing or directions for test administration were not followed." Select [NEXT].
- Enter the total number of students involved.
- If the number of students involved are 10 or fewer, the LEA may use either the SSID Input option or the Upload option. The Upload option is required to be used when the number of students involved are more than 10.
- In the Description of the issue text field, enter "Student tested with other students in the room." Do not enter any student information in the box.
When will my testing window be available this year?
The testing window is established by the local educational agency (LEA) CAASPP coordinator according to the California Code of Regulations (CCR). You will need to check with your LEA CAASPP coordinator for the exact dates of your testing window.
CCR, Title 5, sections 855(b)(1), 855(b)(2), and 855(c) , establishes the rules for the testing windows for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, California Alternate Assessments (CAAs), California Science Test, and California Spanish Assessment, which are as follows:
- Testing shall not begin until the day of completion of 66 percent of a school's annual instructional days.
- Testing may continue up to and including the last day of school (but no later than July 15).
- Testing for the CAA for Science can begin in September each year.
If a local educational agency's (LEA's) 25-day testing window goes to the last day of instruction, does the LEA have to test students who enroll the last week of school?
Yes. If a student did not complete one or more of the content-area assessments at the student's previous school, the student must take the assessments for which the student is eligible at the new school as long as the selected testing window is still open in the new LEA. For example, if a student completes an English language arts/literacy assessment at a school, but does not complete a mathematics assessment, and then transfers to a school in an LEA where the testing window is still open, the student must take the mathematics assessment at the new school before the testing window closes at the new LEA.
Is the 25-day test window optional or required?
The 25-day test window is required.
What name does a student use to test?
The student should use their first name as it is displayed in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS). This name is pulled from the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). If the preferred name is added to CALPADS, TOMS will display the preferred name for testing.
If a student leaves one local educational agency (LEA) before the academic year ends and enrolls in another LEA, what happens to the student's scores from the LEA where the student was tested?
If a student completes testing in all content areas at one LEA and then enrolls at a new LEA, the student will not be tested at the new LEA, but the student's score report will be provided to the new LEA.
If a student moves to a new local educational agency (LEA), what action should the previous LEA take if data for that student continues to appear in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS)?
Consult with the LEA's California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) coordinator to determine whether the student's information has been updated in CALPADS. If the student's information has been updated in CALPADS and continues to appear in TOMS , the LEA CAASPP coordinator should contact the LEA Success Agent .
What steps need to be taken to correct students' grade-level information for new students during the testing window?
This applies only to summative assessments: If a student has not completed testing and a change to the assessed grade level is requested, the local educational agency (LEA) will need to submit a Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System case in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) . After the incident is reported, TOMS will immediately prompt the filing of an Appeal, if that is the appropriate action. A system email will be sent that describes the submittal and includes the case number that can be used for searches in TOMS. This email will be sent to the submitter (and to the LEA CAASPP coordinator, if the form is submitted by the CAASPP test site coordinator). For additional information, refer to the Test Security web page.
How long will student data continue to show in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) after students are exited from the school in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) for the end-of-year reporting?
The data in CALPADS and TOMS is updated nightly, with the following approximate turnaround times for CALPADS changes to be reflected in TOMS:
|Local Educational Agency CALPADS Uploads||Enrollments or Changes in TOMS|
If a student begins testing in one school and then moves to another school before completing the assessment, will the assessment be available at the new school for the student to complete?
Yes. If a student starts testing in one school and then moves to a different school, the test delivery system will retain that assessment for that student.
For example, if the student starts a test segment, answers some questions, and then moves to a different California school, the student can begin, at the new school, where the student left off within that segment.
What data in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) is necessary for students to test?
The minimum data that needs to be correct in CALPADS for a student to start testing is as follows:
- Name (If applicable, the preferred name in CALPADS is what is displayed in the Test Operations Management System [TOMS])
- Grade level
- School and local educational agency (LEA) information
- CALPADS enrollment status of 10 or 30
- U.S. school entry data
- Parent/Guardian address (if the LEA wants the address on the Student Score Report)
- Fields 3.13 (education program) and 3.21 (primary disability) (if the student is to take the California Alternate Assessments or receive designated supports, accommodations, unlisted resources, or any combination of these)
- All other demographic fields (if the LEA wants to view these fields in the final student data file that is downloadable from TOMS )
CALPADS documentation, including field names and field codes, and information about CALPADS support are available on the California Department of Education California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) web page.
What if a student's enrolled grade level is incorrect in the test delivery system (TDS)?
Any incorrect student information in the displayed demographic fields must be updated in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) by an authorized user. The student should not be approved for testing until the grade level appears correctly in the TDS. Please work with your CALPADS coordinator to ensure that CALPADS data is corrected.
What if a student was tested using an incorrect Statewide Student Identifier (SSID)?
If a student takes an assessment associated with a different student's SSID, submit a Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System (STAIRS) incident in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) . The assessment results can be associated with the correct student by following either of the following approaches:
- If the local educational agency (LEA) wants to allow one or both students to start a new assessment, report the incident and submit a Reset Appeal request when following the STAIRS prompts in TOMS. This is applicable when the assessment is yet to be completed or when one or both students have finished testing.
- If one or both students have finished testing and the LEA wants to associate the assessment results with the SSID of the correct student without allowing one or both of the students to start a new assessment, the LEA must report the incident using the STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS and submit a nonappealable STAIRS case. This is auto approved. The LEA will receive an approval email sent by firstname.lastname@example.org . The approval email confirms that the incident is approved for further processing. In addition, the LEA must contact the LEA Success Agent within one business day and provide required details of the incorrect SSID, correct SSID, result ID, and test status information associated with the incident.
For more information about how to submit a STAIRS incident, visit the Test Security web page.
Can students in different grade levels take the test in the same room?
While it is recommended that students be tested with their grade-level cohorts, students in different grade levels can test in the same room in a single test session. The test administrator (TA) must select each grade level and assessment within the TA Interface to be administered during that session.
How long does the test administrator (TA) have between approving the students to test and having the students start the actual test?
As a security measure, TAs are automatically logged off the TA Interface after 30 minutes of TA user inactivity and student inactivity in the test session; this will result in closing the test session. If this occurs, the TA will have to create a new session and the students will have to log on to the new session to resume testing. When starting a new session, the TA should give the students the new Session ID so they can log on and resume testing.
Can test administrators (TAs) help students use the test tools during testing?
No. The Directions for Administration specify the guidance TAs can and cannot provide to students during testing. However, students do have the ability to view tutorials that are embedded in the test delivery system at any time during testing. Students can also access the tools on practice and training tests with teacher support before testing to gain familiarity with the test tools.
Can test administrators (TAs) and test examiners (TEs) review test questions while students are completing the CAASPP assessments?
For TAs, the answer is no; only students should be viewing the test questions. Staff who would like to become familiar with the types of questions to be administered may review the Online Practice and Training Tests, which are available on the Online Practice and Training Tests Portal web page.
For TEs, the answer is yes; because the California Alternate Assessments are administered one-on-one, the TE will access the test questions.
Note that all questions on the summative CAASPP assessments are considered secure test materials.
Can students skip questions or segments?
For the Smarter Balanced assessments and the California Science Test: No. Items must be answered before a student moves on to the next question. A student may flag questions for review and then return to them within the same segment, and according to pause rules.
If a student has paused a test within a segment and returns to the test after the 20-minute pause limit has expired, the student will not be able to review or change previously answered items.
Once a student has completed a segment and moves on, the student cannot return to the previous segment. For this reason, a student should review responses before continuing to the next segment.
For the California Alternate Assessments: Yes. Students can proceed to the next question without answering all prior questions on the alternate assessments.
Can students return to items that were flagged for review even after the segment is complete?
No. Once a student completes a test segment, they cannot return to the items within that segment.
What advice can be provided for testing students in nonpublic, nonsectarian schools (NPSs)?
Test administrators and test examiners at NPSs should reach out to the local educational agency CAASPP coordinator who is responsible for placing the student at the NPS for information about testing windows and with their questions about CAASPP testing.
Do the expiration rules refer to calendar days or business days?
Expiration rules refer to calendar days. View the Expiration and Pause Rules Guide for a summary of expiration and pause rules.
Can test administrators (TAs) or test examiners (TEs) use the "Upcoming-Sessions" feature to schedule a test to be administered on the same day or should it be used only for future days?
Use the "Upcoming Sessions" feature for same-day testing. However, when the session is scheduled for the same day, the TA or TE will find the test in the [Active Session] tab and not the [Scheduled Session] tab.
What happens to the testing session for students who lose internet connection during the test?
The student will be logged off of the test, but the student's progress will be saved up to the point where the internet connection was lost. When the student logs back on to the test, the student will be brought back to the last page with an unanswered question.
Do local educational agencies (LEAs) need parent/guardian consent to test students remotely?
No. LEAs will not be required to collect or track parent/guardian signatures for remote testing. LEAs only need to notify parents/guardians of the requirements for remote testing. Parents/Guardians retain the right to opt a child out of assessments. The choice to opt out is made by assessment, and the parent/guardian must provide a written request.
If a parent/guardian does not give video permission and does not allow for in-person testing, how should a local educational agency (LEA) proceed?
The only option for testing students who do not have a camera or parent/guardian permission to use video is in-person testing. If COVID-19 restrictions prevent the LEA from conducting in-person testing, this should be documented by the LEA in either the student information system or the student's cumulative record.
How do I change the video permission test setting for a student?
The default for the Remote Testing Video Permission setting in the Test Operations Management System is "No." Coordinators will need to change that setting to "Yes" if the student will be tested remotely. A student's Remote Testing Video Permission settings are retained if the student moves to a different school or local educational agency.
Will changing the Remote Test Assignment to "Yes" not allow students to test in person?
No. Students with the Remote Testing Video Permission set to "Yes" can take tests remotely or in person.
During remote administration of the test, will students be recorded?
No. The student video feed is live and allows test administrators to monitor students remotely in real time. Student videos are not recorded or saved.
When will test scores and results be available for CAASPP assessments?
Every year, after a certain threshold of tests are completed, ETS and the California Department of Education complete a quality control analysis to ensure results are accurate. Once this process is completed, usually in June, results will start becoming available for students who have completed testing. The Student Score Report (SSR) PDF will be available in the Test Operations Management System and California Educator Reporting System once both portions of the test, English language arts/literacy and mathematics, are completed. CAASPP SSRs will be available electronically three weeks after a student completes an assessment.
Which modes of communication can we use to notify parents of Student Score Reports (SSRs)?
Three options are available to local educational agencies (LEAs) for the distribution of electronic SSRs to parents and guardians. LEAs can
- access electronic SSRs using a locally provided parent portal or student portal,
- download SSRs from the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) and make them available electronically via a secure local method, or
- download SSRs from TOMS, print them, and make them available locally.
LEAs must also have a procedure in place to ensure that parents and guardians are receiving SSRs in case of email or text bounce backs, or returned mail, etc.
How many copies of the Student Score Report (SSR), per student, will parents/guardians receive and in what languages are the SSRs available?
There will be one SSR in English for each student. If a student's primary language is one of the other languages available for the SSRs—Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin (traditional Chinese), or Filipino—there will be an SSR in that language for the student as well.
Will there be a separate file for students who require a Student Score Report (SSR) in an additional language?
A.zip file, available as a bulk download option in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) , will include SSR files for all students for the selected school and grade level, including any SSRs in other languages. All the files will be sorted by Statewide Student Identifier with the exception of those for students who have two SSRs (one in English and one in an additional language). Those students' SSRs will be grouped together at the end of the file. In addition, each bulk download.zip file will contain an index file that lists the SSR files, sorted by last name, first name.
Please refer to the quick reference guide "How to Download Student Score Report PDF Files in TOMS" for more information.
If the local educational agency (LEA) is providing Student Score Reports (SSRs) electronically, must the LEA still print and mail SSRs?
By providing SSRs to parents/guardians electronically, the LEA is meeting the requirements pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), sections 863(a) and (b) and to 5 CCR Section 11518.15(b) . However, the LEA still has the option to provide paper SSRs to parents on a case-by-case basis.
How many years' worth of Student Score Reports (SSRs) are stored and for how long?
Historical SSRs up to three years prior to the current administration year are available in the Test Operations Management System .
Are local educational agencies (LEAs) required to keep a hard copy of the CAASPP Student Score Reports (SSRs) in a student's permanent records folder?
LEAs are not required to keep a hard copy of the SSR. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 863(c) , "Schools are responsible for maintaining pupil's scores with the pupil's permanent school records or for entering the scores into electronic pupil records."
When does the clock start for sending Student Score Reports (SSRs) to parents/guardians?
Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 863(a) and (b) , SSRs must be made available to each student's parent/guardian within 20 working days of receipt of the report at the local educational agency (LEA). However, if the reports are received after the last day of the instructional year, the report must be made available within 20 working days of the next school year.
LEAs that opt to print the SSRs, but want to wait until they have a sufficient number of SSRs, may initially make the reports available to a parent/guardian by providing a convenient place at the school or LEA where the parent/guardian can view and print the SSR before a subsequent mailing.
How are we going to show documentation to a federal program monitoring auditor inquiring whether the parents saw the Student Score Report (SSR)?
There is no requirement to ensure receipt of the SSR by the parent or guardian. It is the local educational agency's responsibility to make the SSR available to the parent or guardian, not to track parent/guardian viewing or receipt.
When a student transfers to a different local educational agency (LEA), how long will it take for the student's Student Score Report (SSR) to become available?
Once the student's enrollment is updated in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, that student's SSR will be available to the new LEA in 24 to 48 hours. However, the previous LEA—where the student was enrolled at the end of the previous school year—also will have access to the student's SSR for all the years in which the LEA enrolled and tested that student. This also applies to a matriculation student who has completed the highest grade level offered at a school.
Why are there old California Science Test (CAST) records in my local educational agency (LEA) downloadable this year?
These are records for students who are currently enrolled in grade twelve and participated in the high school CAST in prior years. These records are being provided to inform LEAs about what is being reported out federally, as the high school CAST is only reported federally for grade twelve students.
Training and Information
What training resources are available?
A variety of resources are available to help local educational agencies, schools, and students prepare for the administration of the CAASPP assessments.
Practice and Training Tests
Practice and training tests are available on the Online Practice and Training Tests Portal web page. Practice and training tests allow test administrators, test examiners, stakeholders, parents, and students to become familiar with the format and functionality of the computer-based assessment.
Manuals and Instructions
Several manuals that provide guidance on all aspects of test administration are available on the Manuals and Instructions web page.
The CAASPP Quick Reference Guides and Videos web page provides instructional videos on how to use the Test Operations Management System, test administration, test security, and accessibility resources.
Test Administrator (TA) and Test Examiner (TE) Tutorials
Tutorials are available to TAs and TEs in the Moodle Training Site . Local educational agency CAASPP coordinators are responsible for providing enrollment keys to users that need to complete this training.
Is the Test Administrator Tutorial required?
No. Local educational agency CAASPP coordinators have the option to use the Test Administrator Tutorial to supplement local training.
Parent and Guardian Communication
Where can we find the testing notification letter templates for parents/guardians?
The testing notification letter templates for parents/guardians are available on the Parent/Guardian Notification web page.