STAR Tests - Now CAASPP - California Assessment
of Performance and Progress
Last updated: August 13, 2014
AB 484 - The Legislation That Sets the Course for California's
Future Assessment System
has posted a Question and Answer page for AB 484.
With the enactment of AB
484, the assessment system in California will be undergoing
a significant overhaul.
AB 484 replaced the existing STAR Program with CalMAPP –
the California Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress.
As of January 2014, CalMAPP was changed to the California
Assessment of Performance and Progress (CAASPP).
CAASPP creates a framework for future assessments for 2014/2015
and beyond. Click
here for the most current information on CAASPP.
What Does AB 484 and CAASPP Mean for Assessment in
- Science (CSTs, CAPA, and CMA) in grades 5, 8, and 10
will continue to be required until such time as a successor
assessment can be developed and implemented. (The
results from these assessments will be reported as per usual,
individual, school, and district level reports.)
- SSPI Torlakson will be developing a plan to assess science
for federal compliance (replacing the current CSTs, CAPA,
and CMA in 5, 8, and 10) with new science assessments aligned
with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The federal
government requires the assessment of science once in each
grade span 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12. This plan must be approved
by the California State Board of Education.
- SSPI Torlakson must develop a plan that considers assessing
science (and other subjects) in a variety of innovative
ways, outside of those required for federal compliance.
The deadline for this plan is March 1, 2016. This plan must
be approved by the California State Board of Education.
State Board Suspends Base and Growth API Calculations for
2014 and Growth API Calculation for 2015
On March 13, 2014 the California State Board of Education
acted on the authority granted to them in AB
484 and voted to authorize CDE to NOT calculate the following
- 2014 Base API
- 2014 Growth API
- 2015 Growth API
At this time it is expected that the results from the Smarter
Balanced tests administered in the spring of 2015 will be
used as a part of the calculation of the 2015 Base API along
with other measures. Recent legislation requires that the
API consist of measures other than test scores.
There are several programs, such as the Open Enrollment Act,
that rely exclusively on API scores. In order to accommodate
a need for an API score, LEAs have options on how to generate
an API score for 2014. Per
AB 484 districts shall use one of the following to calculate
- The most recent API calculation.
- An average of the three most recent annual API calculations
(CDE will be producing those for use by a district that
- Alternative measures that show increases in pupil academic
achievement for all groups of pupils school wide and among
API and Accountability
This bill for the 2013–14 and 2014–15 school years, upon
approval of the state board, authorizes the Superintendent
to not provide an API score to a school or school district
due to a determination by the Superintendent that a transition
to new standards-based assessments would compromise comparability
of results across schools or school districts. On Marcy 13,
2014 the state board approved the recommendation to not calculate
a Base and Growth API for 2014 and Growth API for 2015. The
results from the science assessments delivered in the spring
of 2014 will be reported as per usual, individual, school,
and district level reports.
Pre-October 2, 2013 Information:
Science is assessed in the state's STAR testing program at
5th grade and in grades 8, 9, 10, and 11. The tests—CSTs,
or California Standards Tests (CSTs)—are based on the California
science content standards. The test results from the grade
5, grade 8, and grade 10 life science tests are reported to
the federal government under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
on NCLB Tests.)
The 5th grade test covers grade 4 and 5 science content standards;
the 5th grade test was field tested in 2003, and the test
which was administered in the spring, 2004, is now operational
and is included in a district's API. The 5th grade test is
comprised of approximately 40% grade 4 standards and 60% grade
5 standards. The Investigation and Experimentation standards
comprise 10% of the test items. The 5th grade STAR test meets
the requirements of NCLB so is used to assess science achievement
for NCLB purposes.
At the high school level, science is assessed by discipline
rather than grade level. Students enrolled in a standards-based
science course in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade take whichever
STAR test corresponds to the course they are taking -- biology,
chemistry, earth science, physics, or integrated science 1,
2, 3, or 4.
Legislation signed by the Governor (SB 1448) eliminated all
norm-referenced testing in content areas, with the exception
of language arts and math in grades 3 and 7. All STAR test
items are now aligned to the state's content standards.
The STAR Testing program is set to sunset in 2014.
Weighting on API
The State Board of Education establishes the weight that will
be given to the various administered tests to arrive at a
district's overall API. Since at the elementary level the
science test is given only in 5th grade while the math and
language arts tests are given in every grade, assigning the
same weighting to science as math and language arts in a K-5
school would overemphasize the results of the science test.
Presented with the problem of how to incorporate the new science
scores, as well as the new 8th grade history-social science
scores, into the API without skewing a district's results,
the board adopted a new method for calculating the API, based
upon the number of students taking each test: Each subject
tested is assigned a weight, and the weight is then multiplied
by the number of tests administered in a school. For the 5th
grade science test, the board set an initial weight of .20
(out of 1.40) but once the number of students taking the test,
i.e., only fifth grade students, is calculated, science represents
approximately 6 percent of a district's overall API.
The board also increased the weighting for the high school
science tests from 8 percent to 23 percent. Students who are
not enrolled in a CST science course, and so would not be
required to take a CST science test, are assigned a score
of 200, the lowest possible score. CSTA, along with many district
officials, feel this assignment unfairly penalizes districts
which do not require three years of science; the State Board
of Education recently reauthorized the assignment of 200 penalty.
The 8th grade science test, which covers the grade 6-8 physical
science standards, carries a weight of 7 percent.
The 10th grade life science test includes items drawn from
the grade 6-8 life science standards and the grade 9-12 biology
standards. The 10th grade test carries a weight of 10 percent.
The Department of Education has prepared a document which
gives an overview of the state's accountability system. It
is updated from time to time. For the most recent version
and scroll to find the "Overview of Accountability"
The California Department of Education (CDE) has prepared
blueprints which give guidance on the standards which will
be assessed on upcoming STAR tests. Blueprints can be found
on the CDE website at
For a thorough explanation of the testing scheme, visit the
CDE website at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/. For a complete testing
schedule, see http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/0910testdates.asp.
For more information about science assessment, visit the
CDE website at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/
or contact Diane Hernandez at CDE, firstname.lastname@example.org.