March 14, 2018
March 14, 2018

Dear Parent/Guardian of PAUSD Students Enrolled in Grades 3 - 8:

Mark your calendars! Your child will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) during the months of April and May at all elementary and middle school sites. Site specific testing schedules will be communicated to families by the school site. Please make sure your child is in attendance and on time on test days. Students who are absent will be required to attend make-up testing sessions.

California’s academic standards - what we want our students to know and be able to do - are designed for students to graduate ready for college and a career. One way we measure their progress is through the CAASPP assessments. Students across California in grades 3 - 8 and high school take these assessments each spring. These tests were created specifically to gauge each student’s performance in English language arts/literacy (ELA), mathematics. In addition, California is in the process of implementing the California Next Generation Science Standards. As part of that implementation, students in grades five, eight, and twelve will try out a new test called the California Science Test, or CAST. Scores for the science field test will not be reported. CAASPP assessments measure the skills called for by the academic standards, including the ability to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems.

Your child’s participation in this assessment is valuable as the number of students taking the CAASPP assessment has been used to determine additional funding as each school is required by law to meet a 95% participation rate. Results are used to assess the quality of our schools, determine statewide and national rankings, impact state accountability reports including college and career readiness measures.

This year, most students in grades 3 through 8 will take the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA and mathematics. However, students who have a significant cognitive disability, as designated in their individualized education program (IEP), are eligible to take the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs). The Smarter Balanced ELA and mathematics tests reflect California’s rigorous academic standards and allow students to demonstrate analytical writing and critical thinking skills as well as their knowledge of facts.

In fall 2018, parents will receive their child’s student score report and be able to compare results across three years (2015 -16, 2016 - 17, and 2017-18) to determine their child’s progress in meeting the standards. (Exceptions: Only two years of data will be reported for students in grade 4, and only one year of data will be reported for students in grades three and eleven). Science will not be reported as it is a field test.

To learn more about either the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments or the CAST, go to the California Department of Education Parent Guides to Understanding Web page.

You may look at sample test questions on the practice tests, which can be found on the CAASPP Web Portal. Here, parents can experience the kinds of questions that students will encounter on the tests.

PAUSD’s Assessment webpage provides links to the above stated information and more. Parents/guardians may annually submit a written request to the principal of their student’s school to excuse their child from any or all parts of the CAASPP Summative Assessments for the school year. We encourage parents to contact the principal’s office with any questions they may have about the assessments or their child’s participation.

Sincerely,

Karen Hendricks, Interim Superintendent