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California Custom Assessments and Programs

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

Public School Assessments

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

The 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 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 CAAs for ELA, Mathematics and Science for students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take part in general statewide assessments.

CAAs for ELA and Mathematics 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 four embedded performance tasks (PTs) that are integrated into each student's instruction. The CAA for Science is administered to students in grades five and eight and once in high school.

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. The CAST is administered to students in grades five and eight and once in high school.

California Spanish Assessment (CSA)

The 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)

ETS has developed California's next-generation of English-language development assessments. The ELPAC program consists of both an Annual Assessment and a linked Initial Assessment. In 2020, ETS successfully transitioned the state's paper-based Initial Assessment to an online test allowing for more real-time results.

Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (Alternate ELPAC)

The Alternate ELPAC is an English-language proficiency assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Alternate ELPAC is aligned to the 2012 California English Language Development Standards (2012 ELD Standards) through the English Language Development Connectors (ELD Connectors). The Initial Alternate ELPAC will be operational July 1, 2021, and the Summative Alternate ELPAC will be operational February 1, 2022.

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