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Assessment Spotlight - January 9, 2020

Assessment Spotlight

Focusing on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System and English Language Proficiency Assessments of California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California's other statewide assessments.

Calendar Reminder: CAASPP and ELPAC System Downtime Fast Approaching

Various CAASPP and ELPAC systems will be unavailable from Wednesday, January 8, at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, January 14, at 8 a.m. for a scheduled downtime. During the downtime, the following CAASPP and ELPAC systems will not be available:

  • Test Operations Management System (TOMS)
  • Test Administrator Interface
  • Completion Status and Roster Management System
  • Data Entry Interface
  • Interim Assessment Viewing System

Additional details about the systems that will be impacted are available on the CAASPP Planned System Downtime web page and the ELPAC Planned System Downtime web page.

Coming in February: WebEx for New Coordinators

If you are a local educational agency CAASPP or ELPAC coordinator who has been in your role for less than 12 months, the WebEx series for new coordinators is for you! Registration is still open for next month's WebEx, which will take place on February 18 at 2 p.m. It will cover coordinator tasks for February and well as provide a Q&A session. The webinar will be archived on the CAASPP website for anyone not able to attend.

Release of Results for the 2018–19 California Science Test and California Spanish Assessment

This month, the CDE released the first operational 2018–19 CAST and CSA Student Score Reports (SSRs). The CAST SSRs will include the students' Overall scale score, an achievement level, and information about how they performed in each science area (i.e., Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences). The CSA SSRs will include the students' score reporting ranges and information about how they performed. The CAST and CSA SSRs will be available electronically to LEAs through the Test Operations Management System (TOMS). LEAs will then distribute the electronic SSRs to parents and guardians through their local student information systems. For parents and guardians who do not have access to technology, LEAs will have the ability to print individual student reports or order printed copies through ETS. To access the summary reports for the first operational 2018–19 California Science Test (CAST) summary reports, log on to the Online Reporting System (ORS) with your TOMS user account. CSA summary reports are not available in ORS, but will be located in the California Educator Reporting System beginning this summer. More information to come.

The Starting Smarter website at also will launch for the CAST and CSA in January 2020. This parent-friendly site will offer parents and guardians sample CAST and CSA questions and resources.

Tentatively scheduled for January/February 2020, the CAST and CSA summary results will be available on the CDE Public Reporting website, which is located at The summary results will be reported at the state, county, district, and school levels by student groups. The CDE will provide more information on the public release of the CAST and CSA in a February 2020 Information Memorandum to the State Board of Education.

California Alternate Assessment for Science: The Time Is Now!

If you have not started the administration of the 2019–20 California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science performance tasks, now is the time to begin. Available since September 2019, the CAA for Science is intended to be administered as four performance tasks embedded in instruction over the school year. January 2020 marks the halfway point of the school year; ideally, one or two performance tasks would already have been administered to eligible students. Test examiners are encouraged to administer the remaining embedded performance tasks shortly after related content is taught. For more information about the administration of the CAA for Science, visit the CAAs web page on the CAASPP website.

Save the Date for the 2020 California Assessment Conference

Start your planning for 2020-21 and save the date for the California Assessment Conference (CAC), scheduled for October 6-8, 2020. The CAC provides a unique opportunity for classroom educators to explore the connection between assessments and classroom instruction and learn how other California educators use assessments to improve teaching and learning. For more information about this exciting conference, visit the CDE CAC website!

January's Featured Digital Library Resource: "Closing the Story!"

This month's featured Digital Library resource, "Closing the Story!" (Digital Library account required), focuses on composing endings to narratives. Developed for students in grade three, this lesson guides young writers in moving past writing simple closures such as "The end" or "They lived happily ever after" and helps them write logical and relevant closures that make the reader feel satisfied that the story is finished and complete.

This lesson begins with the teacher discussing the elements of narrative writing. The teacher then shares with the students a chart displaying six ways in which to write endings for narrative writing. The students observe as the teacher models the writing of a closure to a piece of narrative writing. Then, they work in groups to create closures to the passages assigned to them. The lesson culminates with the students writing their own closure to their own narrative writing. Materials include the printable chart and the passages that students can use to practice writing closures.

Check out this resource and similar resources on the Smarter Balanced Connections Playlist: Grade 3 Write and Revise Narratives (Digital Library account required).

Please share this email with any educators in your local educational agency who would be interested in or benefit from this information. To join the email list, send a blank email message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Are you a new subscriber? Visit the CDE Assessment Spotlight web page to find previous issues. 

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