March 14, 2017
Dear South Pasadena Middle School Parent or Guardian:
California’s academic standards—the things we want students to know and be able to do—are designed so students graduate ready for college and a career. One way we measure their progress is through the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessments. Students across California in grades 3–8 and high school take these assessments each spring. These tests were created specifically to gauge each student’s performance in English language arts/literacy (ELA), mathematics, and science. These tests measure the skills called for by the academic standards, including the ability to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems.
Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to measure the skills of all students against the same academic standards. Given online, the tests are computer-adaptive, allowing more precise measurement of individual skills.
CAASPP ELA and mathematics tests reflect California’s rigorous academic standards and allow students to demonstrate analytical writing and critical thinking skills as well as their knowledge of facts. In 2017, parents will be able to compare results across three years (2014–15, 2015–16, and 2016–17) to determine their child’s progress in meeting the standards. (Exceptions: Only two years of data will be reported for students in grade 4, and only one year of data will be reported for students in grades 3 and 11.)
To learn more about these tests, please visit CDE’s Test Score Guide Web site at http://www.testscoreguide.org/ca, which provides informative guides and test score descriptions as well as sample test items at different levels of difficulty.
Another great resource are the Practice and Training Tests, which can be found on the CDE’s Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/practicetest.asp. Here, parents can experience the kinds of questions that students will encounter on the tests.
Students in grade 8 will also participate in the California Science Test—Pilot Test
California’s new state standards for science call for students to think and work like scientists and engineers—asking questions and learning through hands-on investigation and discovery. Working with science teachers, California is developing a new assessment that emphasizes scientific thinking and reasoning. This year, your child will participate in the pilot of test items for this future assessment. While this pilot will not provide scores for your child, it is an important first step in developing an assessment that will fairly and accurately measure how students are achieving on the new science standards. For additional information about the new science tests and sample questions, please visit the CDE’s CAASPP Science Assessment Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/caasppscience.asp.
At SPMS, all students will be administered the CAASPP ELA and Math tests within a window from Tuesday, April 17 through Friday, May 26, 2017. Make-ups will be held within that window.
Grade 8 students will be administered the California Science Test (CAST) – Pilot Test on Tuesday, May 23 or Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
If you would like more information, please visit the Parent/Student tab of the CDE CAASPP Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/, or the CAASPP Support Page on the Instructional Services page at spusd.net. If you have any questions regarding your student’s participation, please contact your school principal, or Kim Sinclair, Coordinator of Curriculum and Testing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.