South Pasadena Middle School

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CAASPP - March 2017

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 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 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

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 or the CAASPP Support Page on the Instructional Services page at If you have any questions regarding your student’s participation, please contact your school principal, or Kim Sinclair, Coordinator of Curriculum and Testing, at


Kim Sinclair

UPDATE - April 2018

A message from SOUTH PASADENA MIDDLE SCHOOL - April 21, 2018

Dear Parent/Guardian,

From Tuesday, April 25th to May 17th your child will be participating in the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, which are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. Students will take the test in grades 6, 7 and 8. Testing will take place in student's English classes for the ELA portion of the test and in Math Classes for the Mathematics portion of the test using a regular day schedule. Additionally, 8th grade students will take the CAST Science test on Thursday, May 25th and Friday, May 26th.  The testing schedule can be viewed at the school website at

Why is this test important?

This test was created with teacher input to…

  • Measure how well your child has mastered the skills and content in mathematics and English language arts at his or her grade level
  • Align with the instruction that takes place in the classroom everyday
  • Match the learning goals of each grade level
  • Assess critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem solving skills, which are needed for success in college and a 21st century career.

The test has different kinds of questions, including traditional multiple-choice questions as well as ones that require students to explain their answers, show their work, and compose essays.

What should I expect after my student takes the test?

As you may remember from last year’s score report, each subject will be broken down into areas. The report shows how students are doing in each area and where they need help. Depending on the student’s needs, teachers can use this information to provide targeted help to students to address their needs.

But remember, the results from this test aren’t meant to tell the whole story. Your child’s scores are meant to be one of several ways for you and your child’s teacher to see how your student is progressing in school. Test scores, along with student report cards and teacher’s observations of your child’s performance in the classroom, are used together to form a complete picture of your child’s achievement.

Where can I learn more?

For information about the specific dates and times when your child will take the test in each subject, see the enclosed testing schedule. I also encourage you to take a look at a practice test for your child’s grade level. The practice tests are posted on the California Department of Education’s Smarter Balanced Practice Tests Web page at To find out more details about the Smarter Balanced test, visit the “Be a Learning Hero” Web site at

At SPMS our goal is for all students to achieve their full potential. The Smarter Balanced tests are just one way that we are able to better understand if we are meeting that goal. Thank you for all you do to partner with us in your child’s education.


David Kubela
Principal, SPMS

April 17, 2018 - Due to no internet access on Monday, April 17, our CAASPP testing schedule will now begin April 19 and end on May 18.