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State Standardized Testing

A few words on the new testing from EdSource

The vocabulary has changed, and so have the numbers and the format. The two-page report that parents will receive later this year describing their children’s results on the new Smarter Balanced tests on the Common Core State Standards will be very different from what they’ve seen in the past.

That’s intentional. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the State Board of Education are using multiple cues to send a uniform message: Parents shouldn’t compare the new results with scores on past state standardized tests; this year’s English language arts and math tests are, they say, more difficult, and are based on a different set of academic standards. They mark a break from the past.

The new report doesn’t use the terms that designated five levels of achievement on the California Standards Tests: far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. Instead, Smarter Balanced uses four achievement levels, which state officials have designated: standard not met, standard nearly met, standard met, standard exceeded. The levels will designate the degree of “progress toward mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for success in future coursework.”For 11th-graders, they measure the degree to which students are on track to be ready for college or a career after graduating from high school.

For math and English language arts, students will receive a separate composite score between 2,000 and 3,000 points that falls within one of the achievement levels. One complaint about the old state system, known as STAR, was that it emphasized a student’s level of achievement, such as basic. With Smarter Balanced, state officials want to emphasize the growth in a student’s score from year to year. It includes a margin of error line, which shows how a score might have changed if the student had taken the test again.


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This video will help you and your child learn about California’s new Student Score Report of year-end standardized test results (CAASPP), for 3rd – 8th, and 11th grades.



STAR Testing Program – Part of the State of California’s Statewide testing program, STAR has two components: The  CAT 6 assesses how well California students are achieving academically compared to a national sample of students tested in the same grade at the same time of the school year. The purpose of the California Standards Tests is to determine how well students are learning the skills and knowledge required by the California Content Standards for each grade or course.


The Academic Performance Index (API) measures the academic performance and growth of schools. It is a numeric scale that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. A school’s score is an indicator of a school’s performance level. Currently the state has set the target for all schools to be 800.

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