Published Jan. 28, 2021
By MJ APFEL
California standardized testing for elementary, middle and high school students is scheduled to return in the spring after last year’s cancellation, including modifications to the exam and testing protocols to comply with local health and safety guidelines.
CUSD will administer exams remotely for secondary schools and is considering in-person testing for elementary schools that may enter the hybrid learning model in the future. For online testing, teachers will use CAASPP administrative software, incorporating video monitoring and chat functions for test security and to allow for communication between test proctors and students, according to CUSD chief technology officer Paul Behan. Students may also use their own technology, provided they install the AIRSecureTest Mobile Secure Browser from the CAASPP website.
The actual exam for math and English language arts remains relatively similar to previous years’, including a computer-adapted multiple-choice section and a written performance task, but the multiple-choice portion will be shortened. Timing will also be modified to accommodate for the reduced test length.
The district’s expectations for teachers and students remain similar to those of previous years, emphasizing that students do their best work to most accurately reflect their learning.
“As always, we will be asking students to do their best on the state assessments,” Behan says. “The tests are very important because the school and district will analyze the results to identify student learning needs, to assess the effectiveness of the distance learning model and to inform our efforts of continuous program improvement.”
Some CHS teachers have already begun preparing juniors for the upcoming exam, administering official online practice tests during class periods and giving feedback to maximize results.
“We typically smash the CAASPP as a school,” says CHS American Literature teacher Lillian Owens. “Eighty percent of our students are at a 3 (Standard Met) or a 4 (Standard Exceeded) over the past three years, so we’re in a good place.”
CHS’ pass rate in the English section is approximately double that of the California state average, with other categories also having higher pass rates than the state average, according to state data.
The CHS math department has also been preparing for the return of CAASPP testing, giving students online practice tests and other assessments.
“We are in the beginning stages of planning the format of the CAASPP testing now,” says CHS math department chair Steve Nacht. “Since our curriculum is standards-based, we are already preparing our students for the CAASPP test through daily instruction and summative assessments.”
The continuation of online practice exams and test format throughout the district, with the exception of a shortened multiple-choice section, has resulted in a minimal overall change in how the district plans to administer CAASPP testing, even though it is planned to be administered purely online.
Further details about the exam are likely to be released in the near future as testing dates become closer.