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 New Assessments Went Smoothly, State Superintendent Says

More than three million students across the state have taken new online assessments over the last several months, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction said this week that overall the effort has gone very smoothly.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, also known as CAASPP, gauges how well students are mastering the new state standards that emphasize the critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem-solving skills needed to be successful in college and career.

"California has entered a new era of student testing that more accurately assesses students' progress, and I applaud everyone who helped make this a reality," Torlakson said. "Along with new rigorous state academic standards, improved school funding, and more local control, CAASPP is helping us transform education and better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century."

Torlakson said last year's CAASPP Field Test paved the way for this year's successful testing season by helping prepare students, teachers, and administrators for the challenge of administering an online test that requires strong Internet connections.  

Test results will be provided to parents in a new document called the Student Score Report and those will be provided to districts eight weeks after their testing windows close at the end of their school year. Districts then have 20 days to mail the reports to the students' homes. Results are expected to be released publicly on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site in late summer or early fall.

Based on trial runs of some test questions in California and other states, many, if not most, students will need to make significant progress to reach the standards set for math and literacy that accompany college and career readiness.

 "No one should be discouraged by the scores," Torlakson said. "They can help guide discussions among parents and teachers and help schools adjust instruction to meet student needs."

The range of scores is different than the former assessment system and goes from 2,000 to 3,000. Along with that new range, there is a different number of performance levels and different names for those levels. The categories are now: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The test uses computer-adaptive technology that automatically adjusts questions based on each student's answer.           

For more information on the new statewide testing system, please go to CAASPP on the CDE Web site.