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California State Assessments

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP)

Vista Unified School District students and other students throughout California took tests this past spring that are part of a comprehensive plan for high-quality teaching and learning in every school to prepare our students for the challenges of the future. The plan includes higher academic standards, more decision-making in the hands of schools and communities, and more resources dedicated to schools and to students with the greatest needs. 

These new tests are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) program and include the following:

  • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC) in English/Literacy and Mathematics (including the EAP for 11th grade students)
  • California Standards Test (CST) in Science
  • California Modified Assessment (CMA) in Science
  • California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) in Science
  • California Alternate Assessment (Cal-Alt) in English/Literacy and Mathematics
  • Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS)

All VUSD students in grades three through eight took the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in English/Literacy and Mathematics except those students with significant cognitive disabilities, who took the California Alternate Assessment (Cal-Alt) in these two subjects.  It is important to note that the Cal-Alt test for students with significant cognitive disabilities was a pilot test this past spring and as such, no student results are being reported to school districts or parents.

Students in grades five, eight, and ten took one of three science tests.  A majority of students took the California Standards Test (CST) in science.  Students with mild to moderate disabilities may have taken the CST or possibly the California Modified Assessment (CMA) in science.  Students in grades five, eight, and ten with significant cognitive disabilities took the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) in science.

Vista Unified School District did not administer the Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS).  This particular test is optional and based upon standards that are no longer used in California.  As such, very few school districts opted to administer the STS this past spring.  California is currently developing a new primary language assessment for students with limited proficiency in English.  This new assessment will be based upon newly adopted standards in English and mathematics.

California High School Exit Exam

The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) has been suspended for at least three school years (2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018).  As such, passing the CAHSEE is no longer a graduation requirement in California.  Students in the Class of 2016, 2017, and 2018 will not be required to pass this test as a condition of graduation.  Students in the Class of 2015 who did not pass the CAHSEE are eligible to receive their diploma now.  Students in the Class of 2014 and earlier who did not pass CAHSEE, will be eligible for a diploma when the new law takes full effect in January 2016.  If you have specific questions about CAHSEE, please feel free to contact the VUSD Measurement and Monitoring office.

School and District CAASPP Results

The State of California has created a new system to report CAASPP assessment results for every school and school district in California.  The decision to sunset the previous reporting system and create a brand new system for reporting scores was deliberate because these new assessments are very different from previous California assessments.  The scores can not and should not be compared to previous year's results for a child, school, or school district.  

The new assessments in English and mathematics that students took this past spring were based upon new, more rigorous standards.  Questions reflect a student's critical thinking and problem solving skills that are essential in the 21st century job market.  Unlike previous tests, the tests are taken on a computer and are adaptive, which means that during the test, the questions become more or less difficult based upon how the student is performing.  While some questions were presented in a multiple-choice format, many questions (in English and mathematics) required written responses from students asking them to explain their thinking and reasoning.  

Click this link for more information and to look up school-by-school results.

Assessment and Accountability

Craig B. Wiblemo, J.D., M.Ed.
Director of Measurement and Monitoring

The California PTA presents a special webinar!

Grasp the CAASPP: California's New Assessments and Your Child 

What do the new Smarter Balanced assessments mean for your child's education?  What can you learn from your child's score report?  How are assessments used to enhance learning?  Get your questions answered and learn where to find excellent resources on assessments for parents and PTAs.  

Click to register for one of two convenient webinar options: 

Once registered, you will receive an email confirming your registration and the information you will need to join the webinar.

Individual Student Results for Parents

Individual student results for all CAASPP assessments taken by students this past spring will be mailed home during the week of October 19th.  If you are the parent of a student and you have not received your report by Saturday, October 24th, please call our district's Office of Measurement and Monitoring at (760) 726-2170, extension 92008.

The State has prepared many very helpful resources for parents to use as they review their child's scores.  Please click this link to be re-directed to the California Department of Education's website on Understanding the CAASPP Student Score Reports.  You may also be interested in this video which explains CAASPP score reports.


Entendiendo el Reporte de Calificaciones Individual de CAASPP del Estudiante (video en español)


Early Assessment Program (EAP)

Effective in 2014–15, the grade eleven Smarter Balanced (SBAC) computer adaptive assessments for English–language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics replaced the augmented California Standards Tests that were used for EAP. The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments provide grade eleven students with an early indication of readiness for college-level course work in English and mathematics.   The California State University (CSU) and participating California Community Colleges (CCC) will use student results from the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments as a student’s EAP status in English and mathematics.

The EAP is designed to bridge the gap between high school standards and college expectations by substantially increasing the college readiness, and eventual college success, of California’s high school students. In addition, the EAP not only strengthens comprehensive, high-school-based, college preparation programs, but also allows each public high school, CCC and CSU to determine the college preparation status of individual students.  The EAP is not used as a part of admissions decisions at any college or university, just entry-level placement in English and mathematics.  Students whose scores indicate they are "not yet ready" for college-level English or mathematics will have opportunities during their senior year and before they start college to demonstrate readiness.

For more information about the EAP for 11th grade students, visit this link.

Vista Unified CAASPP Results and Action Plans

The Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (SBAC) in English and mathematics were brand new to California this past spring.  As such, they represent a new "baseline" for student performance and progress throughout California.  Our school district has been very busy analyzing our results from the spring testing, finding both areas of strength and areas for growth.  This in depth analysis has led to the implementation of several action plans at the district, school, and classroom level.

For a general summary of our district's results and a description of the action plans we are taking, please visit this link.