• April 1, 2019

    Dear Jefferson School District Families:

    From April 29th to May 17th, students in 3rd to 8th grade will be participating in the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in Math and ELA, which are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. School sites will send out important reminders and a more detailed schedule for students.

    Why are the tests important?

    The tests were created with teacher input to…

    • Measure how well your child has mastered the skills and content standards at his or her grade level.
    • Align with the instruction that takes place in the classroom every day.
    • 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?

    New for next school year, you will receive access to view an electronic score report in the parent portal for your student. The report will show how the student is doing in each area and where help is needed. Depending on the student’s results, teachers can use this information to provide targeted help to address specific 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.  

    Students in grades three through eight who have an IEP that designates the use of an alternate assessment are eligible to take the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) in ELA and mathematics. The goal of the CAAs is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities attain increasingly higher achievement levels and leave high school ready for academic or career options. The test items are aligned with the Common Core State Standards for ELA and mathematics and are based on the Core Content Connectors, which were developed with three tiers of complexity. If you would like more information or resources about alternate assessments, please visit the CDE’s CAASPP Alternate Assessments Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca/altassessment.asp.

    The CCCs identify priorities in each content area to guide the instruction for students in this population and for the alternate assessment.

    In addition to the mathematics and ELA assessments, students in grades 5 and 8 will also take the California Science Test (CAST) or the CAA for Science 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. This is the first year the CAST will be operational and students will receive a score report. The CAA is in the second year of field testing and will not provide scores for your child, it is an important 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.

    Students in grades 5 and 7 are also currently preparing and participating in the California fitness test. The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for students in California schools is the FitnessGram®. The main goal of the test is to help students in starting lifelong habits of regular physical activity. Additional information can be found online at https://www.cde.ca.gov/TA/tg/pf/

    Where can I learn more?

    For information about the specific testing schedule for your child please contact the school or your child’s teacher. 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 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/practicetest.asp. To find out more details about the Smarter Balanced test, visit the “Be a Learning Hero” Web site at http://bealearninghero.org/classroom/smarter-balanced.

    Pursuant to California Education Code Section 60615, parents/guardians may annually submit to the school a written request to excuse their child from any or all of the CAASPP assessments. If you have any questions about your child’s participation, please contact the school.

    At Jefferson School District, 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. 

    Thank you,

    Sarah Steen
    Coordinator of Curriculum, Categoricals and Special Projects