Important Changes in State Testing for Spring 2014 Questions and Answers for Parents and Guardians
The law created a new state testing program called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress or CAASPP. CAASPP replaces the Standardized Testing and Reporting or STAR Program that was in place since 2001. The new state testing program, CAASPP, is designed to give more information to teachers, students, and their parents about what students know and are able to do and whether or not they will be ready to succeed in college or career when they graduate from high school.
What Will CAASPP Include in Spring 2014?
In spring 2014, CAASPP will include tests in English-language arts, mathematics, and science, as well as the Early Assessment Program (EAP) for high school students. The new state law requires that tests in other subject areas like history-social science, visual and performing arts, and technology be added over time to some grades.
How Are the CAASPP Tests Different from the STAR Tests That Were Given in the Past?
The science tests that will be given this spring are the same type of tests that have been given in the past. These are multiple-choice tests given to all students in grades five, eight, and ten.
The English-language arts and mathematics tests are new tests being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to test student’s knowledge on the Common Core State Standards that have been adopted by 45 states across the country. For more information about the Common Core State Standards, please visit http://www.corestandards.org/ or the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Common Core State Standards Web page at www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc.
Students will take the new tests, also referred to as the Smarter Balanced tests, using a computer. Schools and school districts have been busy preparing for testing using computers by buying new computers, teaching students keyboarding skills, and making sure that Internet connections are strong enough to allow for many students to take the tests on computers at the same time. The Smarter Balanced tests will not be just multiple choice tests like the STAR tests were. Students will see multiple choice questions, but will also be asked to fill-in tables, drag and drop, graph, and write short and long essays. Practice tests are available on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Web page at http://sbac.portal.airast.org/practice-test/. The practice tests can be taken by parents, teachers, students, and others and will give information about the type of test questions that students will see in different grades and subject areas.
This spring, over 300,000 California students will take part in a field test of the new Smarter Balanced tests.
 High school students who take the Early Assessment Program (EAP) tests are given information that tells them whether they are ready for college classes in English-language arts and mathematics. More information about the EAP can be found at http://www.calstate.edu/eap/.
 The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a group of 22 states working together to build new tests for students based on the Common Core State Standards. More information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium can be found at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/.