California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)
Every spring, students in grades three through eight and grade eleven take the Smarter
Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA and mathematics. Results from these
assessments are just one piece of information to help teachers, parents/guardians, and
students understand how well a student is meeting the grade-level standards.
The Smarter Balanced System includes additional resources to improve teaching and
learning. These resources include formative assessment tools and interim assessments.
Formative assessment is a process that teachers use every day to check on student
understanding. It includes a variety of informal and formal strategies to help both
teachers and students assess what students are learning. This information can then be
used by both teachers and students to decide what they must do next or differently to
help students learn the material they have not learned.
From time to time, teachers may also give tests to check how well students have learned
the material they have been taught over a period of time and what may need to be
reviewed or retaught. These types of tests, called interim assessments, may be given
at the end of a few days (such as a mathematics quiz or a spelling test), after a unit of
instruction (such as a chapter test or unit writing assignment), or after a few weeks (such
as a quarterly test). More information about the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments
is available on the CDE’s Interim Assessments Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/
How the Online Smarter Balanced Assessments Are Different from Previous California Tests?
The new Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments are very different from the old STAR tests in several ways:
- They are aligned with California’s new content standards for ELA and mathematics.
- They reflect the critical thinking and problem solving skills that students will need to
be ready for college and the 21st century job market.
- They are taken on a computer and are adaptive, which means that during the test,
the questions will become more or less difficult on the basis of how the student
performs. If the student answers a question correctly, the next question may be a bit
more challenging; if the student answers it incorrectly, the next question may be less
- They provide many more supports for students who need them, including students
learning English and students with disabilities, as described in the section below.