STAR Tests - Now CAASPP - California Assessment
of Performance and Progress
Last updated: March 13, 2014
Spring 2014 Smarter Balanced Field Test Information
In spring 2014, California will administer the Smarter Balanced
Field Test in English-language arts and mathematics. CDE has
created a web page with information categorized by target
audience: Teachers, Administrators, Students/Parents, Technology,
and Community Partners. The site is located at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/smarterfieldtest.asp.
This Just In (March 13, 2014):
Local educational agency (LEA) assignments for performance
task topics and classroom activity materials for are now available
on the California Smarter Balanced Field Test Classroom Activity
and Content Area Assignments Web page at http://californiatac.org/administration/instructions/assignments/.
The Web page provides two critical pieces of information:
To download the assignments, LEAs can select their county
from the list to open the County Assignments Web page, then
select their LEA from the list of LEAs.
LEAs will need to download the classroom activity and distribute
it to test administrators at least two or three days in advance
of administering the activity to students. The Classroom Activity
and Performance Task Administration Guidelines that is available
how to administer the classroom activity and performance task.
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
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 signing of AB
484 by Governor Jerry Brown, the assessment system in
California will be undergoing a significant overhaul. The
page will be updated in the coming months as information is
AB 484 replaced the existing STAR Program with CalMAPP –
the California Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress.
Per information provided at the January 2014 State Board of
Education meeting, the assessment system will now be referred
to as the California Assessment of Performance and
Progress (CAASPP). Click
here for the most current information on CAASPP.
Specifically for science:
- Science (CSTs, CAPA, and CMA) in grades 5, 8, and 10
(the results from these assessments will be reported
as per usual, individual, school, and district level reports)
Please note that districts will have the option to pay for
and provide the old STAR assessments not included in the list
above in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 should they choose to do
so. Please check with your local district on their assessment
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.
Future Science Assessments Based on NGSS for CA
CAASPP creates a framework for future assessments for 2014/2015
and beyond. However there are many items without deadlines
and it is not completely clear at this time which assessment
will be in place for the spring of 2015. CSTA will continue
to follow this and keep you posted. The good news is that
the bill does call for new assessments based on the newly
adopted Next Generation
Science Standards (no deadline) at least once in grades
3 – 5, inclusive; grades 6 – 9, inclusive; and grades 10-12,
inclusive. As far as non-federally required assessments in
science are concerned, there is language in the bill that
calls for a plan to be proposed for assessing science (and
other subjects) in a variety of innovative ways. The deadline
for this plan is March 1, 2016.
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.