California Custom Assessments and Programs

ETS has developed and administered assessments in the state of California in support of public school and university students and teachers for over a decade.

Public School Assessments

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) is a statewide student assessment system designed to measure English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and Mathematics achievement through the California Smarter Balanced Assessment, California Science test, and California Spanish test.

California Smarter Balanced Assessments

In 2014, ETS transitioned California public schools to statewide, online testing through the successful administration of the Smarter Balanced Field Test. In 2015, the program was used statewide for accountability and for instructional planning. The Smarter Balanced Assessment system is aligned to Common Core State Standards.

  • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Computer-delivered tests in ELA and mathematics that are comprehensive end-of-year assessments. They were administered operationally for the first time in the spring of 2015 to students in grades 3–8 and 11.
  • Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments. Designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year by providing information that can be used to monitor student mastery of the skills measured by the summative assessments. These resources are available to grades K–12 teachers in ELA and Mathematics.

In addition, ETS recruits and conducts teacher scoring institutes to prepare thousands of California teachers to hand-score constructed response questions on California's Smarter Balanced exams.

California Alternate Assessment (CAA)

ETS develops and administers the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for ELA and Mathematics for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take part in general statewide assessments.

CAAs are administered one-on-one to students in grades 3–8 and 11 by a teacher familiar with the student. A range of online-delivered item types are used to assess the Core Content Connectors, which are standards developed by the National Center and State Collaborative that link to the Common Core State Standards. CAAs are administered to approximately 40,000 students and provide student test results upon approval of performance levels by the state.

The CAAs for Science, based on the California Next Generation Science Standards Core Content Connectors, are designed as a collection of embedded performance tasks.

California Science Test (CAST)

CAST is a two-stage adaptive assessment that measures the full range and depth of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). The sampling design of the assessment will provide the robust and broadly-based group-level feedback needed to support teaching and promote curriculum improvement, while at the same time ensuring that each student is measured fairly and comparably.

California Spanish Assessment (CSA)

The California Spanish Assessment (CSA) is an online assessment aligned to the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) en Español. The assessment:

  • measures a student's competency in Spanish language arts in grades 3–8 and 11
  • provides student-level data in Spanish competency
  • evaluates the implementation of Spanish language arts programs at the local level
  • provides a high school measure suitable to be used, in part, for the State Seal of Biliteracy

Students taking this test include those receiving instruction in Spanish and those seeking a measure that recognizes their Spanish-specific reading, writing and listening skills.

English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)

In 2015, ETS began work on ELPAC, California's next-generation English-language development assessments. The ELPAC program will consist of both an Annual Assessment and a linked Initial Assessment with the first operational administration in spring of 2018.

University Assessments

CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP)

The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is designed to help high school juniors and seniors in California identify and improve weak areas and polish skills in English and mathematics in preparation for college-level coursework before they take classes at CSU. Since 2004, ETS has partnered with CSU to manage the EAP program, which, since its inception, has helped millions of students prepare for a California State University education.

Promotional Links

How We Use Technology to Improve Assessment

Learn more about how we improve the student test experience through technology.

How We Approach Testing

Learn more about how we perform our work in assessment development.

How We Apply Standards of Quality and Fairness

Learn how we use research to design assessments that are fair to all groups.

Join the Conversation

Explore the big ideas in educational assessments. Sign up for our new e-newsletter, Trends & Innovations.