California Spanish Assessment Communications—Key Messages

Use the key messages provided in this document for the following purposes:

  • Provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with help in communicating to parents about the California Spanish Assessment (CSA) and CSA student scores after the test’s first operational administration.
  • Help ensure consistent messaging about the CSA.
  • Address potential stakeholder concerns.
  • Encourage LEAs to analyze their local Spanish reading language arts curriculum and instruction to determine their alignment with the CSA.

Use the key messages for the following audiences:

  • Parents/guardians
  • Stakeholders
  • General public

Key Messages

The CSA is a new, online, optional test that provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate literacy in Spanish.

  • With the help of California Spanish language educators and assessment experts, the California Department of Education (CDE) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) developed the CSA for students seeking a measure of their reading, writing mechanics, and listening skills in Spanish.
  • The CSA is aligned with the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) en Español and is available to all students in grades three through eight and high school.

Building new assessments takes time and patience.

  • Schools, teachers, and students are in the process of becoming familiar with the new CSA.
  • The CDE and ETS will continue to gather data, collect input from stakeholders via surveys and focus groups, and apply what is learned as part of the continuous process of improving test administration.

For the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 school years, students will receive a Student Score Report, which will provide them, their parents/guardians, educators, and LEAs with information to help generate meaningful conversations about students’ Spanish reading language arts goals and schools’ local Spanish instructional programs.

  • In January 2020, parents/guardians will receive a Student Score Reports that shows where their students fall within the score reporting range as one measure of how their students are progressing toward achieving their Spanish language goals. The score reporting ranges for the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 school years are preliminary because the CSA is a new optional test; this allows the CDE and ETS to gather more information about the test-taking population and the various Spanish language programs taught throughout the state.

    This data-gathering process will occur over two test administrations, allowing the state to collect more detailed information about student performance and instructional programs.

  • Educators can use a student’s CSA score reporting range, along with those in English language arts/literacy, to inform how a student is progressing toward that student’s biliteracy goals.
  • In January 2020, LEAs will receive CSA summary scores that show state-, county-, LEA-, school-, and student group-level performance.

    LEAs can use these results in addition to other local measures to help inform Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) to ensure that their LCAP supports positive student outcomes.

The CSA is a standardized measurement tool, aligned with the CCSS en Español, that can be used to evaluate Spanish reading language arts instruction.

  • Spanish instruction varies throughout the state, and not all Spanish instruction may be aligned with the CCSS en Español. Therefore, CSA results should be evaluated within the context of the students’ local Spanish reading language arts program.
    • Because of the varying Spanish reading language arts programs among LEAs, there may be a large discrepancy in CSA scores as LEAs become more familiar with the CCSS en Español.
    • Schools should evaluate how well their programs align with the CCSS en Español by using the guided questions provided in the CSA Communications and Outreach Toolkit.
  • The CSA is a high-quality test that was developed under a rigorous assessment development process. As such, it is a valuable tool for evaluating local Spanish instructional programs aligned with the CCSS en Español.

The CSA Student Score Reports will be delivered electronically, providing faster and more dynamic information to parents/guardians and students.

  • For the first time, parents/guardians will have the option to receive CSA Student Score Reports in an electronic format that can be accessed through a school’s parent or student portal instead of relying on receiving a paper version in the mail. A paper version of the Student Score Report still will be available upon request by parents/guardians.
  • The new Student Score Reports will provide parents/guardians and educators with a student’s score reporting range that contains information about the student’s progress toward mastering the Spanish reading language arts skills as well as additional resources.
    • The Student Score Report identifies different levels of performance descriptors of what a student can do within each score reporting range.
    • The electronic Student Score Reports also will include links to additional resources parents/guardians can use to help their students achieve their Spanish language goals.
  • For the 2018–2019 school year, the new Student Score Reports will be available in English and Spanish. More translations will be available in the future.

Supports and resources are available for the CSA.

  • To help students and parents/guardians become familiar with the CSA, assessment-related resources will be available in January 2020 on the Starting Smarter website external icon.
  • Included will be practice tests, parent/guardian guides on talking with teachers about assessments, and guides to understanding score reports.