Murrieta Valley Unified School District

Inspiring every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care.

California Academic Assessment of Student Performance & Progress (CAASPP)


The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (“CAASPP”) System was established on June 1, 2014.  Commencing with the 2014-2015 school year, the CAASPP System includes Smarter Balanced Summative assessments in English Language Arts and Math in grades three through eight and eleven and alternate assessments in English Language Arts and Math in grades three through eight and eleven for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The CST for science is required for all students in grades five, eight and ten unless the student’s IEP indicates administration of the CMA or CAPA.  The District will not administer a standards-based test in Spanish for reading/language arts in grades two through eleven for Spanish-speaking English learners who either receive instruction in their primary language or have been enrolled in a school in the United States for less than twelve months.

A parent or guardian may submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from some or all parts of the CAASPP. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil's records.  A parent or guardian must submit a new request each year to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the CAASPP.  

  • California is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium, or SBAC (pronounced S-back), testing system in which computers adapt questions based on how well the student answered the previous question.  
  • Federally-required science assessments - California Standards Tests, [CST], California Modified Assessment [CMA], and California Alternate Performance Assessment [CAPA] for students in grades 5, 8, and 10. 
  • California Alternate Performance Assessment [CAPA] for ELA and mathematics for special education student in grades two through eleven if noted in the IEP
  • Early Assessment Program [EAP] in ELA and mathematics for students in grade 11 is now a part of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.  The EAP provides important information as to whether students are college ready.  Students will receive a college readiness status of either “Ready”, “Conditionally Ready”, or “Not Ready,” based on this test.  Students who receive a status of “Ready” or “Conditionally Ready,” will be able to avoid taking college entrance exams and remedial classes in college. 

The primary purpose of state testing is to provide parents and students with accurate information about how well students are learning. Teachers also want to know what students know so they can adjust their instruction.  Like class assignments and report cards, tests provide one more way to monitor student progress.  

California's student assessment system California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP),  is part of a larger plan for ensuring high-quality teaching and learning in every school.  
Last spring, district students in grades three through eight and eleven took the new computer-based tests during the first state-wide administration of the CAASPP.   Click here for more information on understanding the score reports. 

Test scores reported to parents

Parents received a report on the results of their child’s tests in September, 2015.  Reports included an overall score, a description of their child’s achievement level in English language arts and mathematics and other information. Paired with school report cards, these assessment reports should give parents a clear understanding of their children’s academic strengths and challenges. Watch a video that will help you understand the results of your child's report.
Results can’t be compared to earlier state assessments
The new scores have no relation to scores under the old testing system. First off, the scores go from 2000 to 3000, where the old measures stopped at 600. More importantly, students were tested in a fundamentally different way, on different standards, Rather, this year's results will establish a new starting point for the progress students are expected to make over time.   
The new tests were fundamentally different from the old tests:
  • The questions were based on the state's new standards and the new tests were more challenging
  • These new tests ask a lot more than the old, multiple choice exams. Students must now:

    Explain how they solve problems
    Think critically
    Write analytically
  • Different types of questions allowed students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving and apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems
  • The tests were taken online.  During the tests, the difficulty of questions changed based on individual student responses. Each student received a different set of questions in order to pinpoint areas of understanding, as well as areas of difficulty.  This is known as computer-adaptive testing which allows for a far more precise measurement of student skills and achievement than traditional paper-and-pencil tests which give all students the same set of questions.    
Lower test scores for most 

It’s only natural in the first year for scores to be lower scores.  Te scores are a reflection of new standards and the CAASSP tests were a big adjustment. It is likely scores to decline for most, if not all, students and fewer students will score at the higher achievement levels on the assessments.   Students, parents and teachers should not be discouraged or overly concerned by a decline in scores.  A drop in test scores does not mean students are sliding backwards or learning less. Rather, the test results will be just one measurement of how students are doing in school and how well they are meeting the higher expectations.
MVUSD will not use the results to determine whether a student moves on to the next grade level or in what classes they will be placed. 
State assessments are just one measure
This year's test results should be looked at in context along with other metrics—including other district assessments, report card grades, and portfolios of student work—to determine how well students are learning.  Patience and persistence will be required to ensure a successful transition to the more challenging standards in our schools. 
For more information, visit the Parent/Student tab of the CDE CAASPP Web page.  

Last Modified on December 14, 2015