General Information about CAASPP/Smarter Balanced Assessment

    Each spring, students participate in standardized achievement testing in our schools as part of the CA Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). In California, along with many other states, students take the online, computer-based Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is designed to give us information about their understanding and application of Common Core State Standards in in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.


    Taking a Look at the Test

    If you are interested in taking a closer look at what the assessment looks like and the kinds of questions that your child will encounter, go to this link: Smarter Balanced Assessment Practice & Training Tests. Once there, click on the green Student Interface Practice and Training Test’ button, sign in as a guest, and select a grade. You will then be able select a test to take - Practice tests, training tests and performance tasks in English Language Arts, Math and Science (5th & 8th grade only), as well as Alternative Assessment practice tests and training tests

    Ongoing information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be shared with you in the upcoming weeks. Feel free to learn more by visiting http://www.smarterbalanced.org/


    What are the CAASPP/Smarter Balanced Assessments?

    This spring, Mill Valley School District will again be giving annual state standardized assessments to students in grades 3-8.  These will include California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Tests.  As a part of CAASPP, Smarter Balanced Assessments are computer-based tests that measure our students’ knowledge of Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.  In addition to the Smarter Balanced Assessments, 5th and 8th grade students are also required to take the California Standards Test (CST) for Science.  Unlike the Smarter Balanced Assessment, these are paper-pencil, multiple-choice tests. 

    While assessments based on the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are being developed, our students will continue to be tested with the California Standards Test (CST) for Science.  As our teachers are transitioning their teaching practices to the new science standards, there may not be total alignment with the CST in Science, and this discrepancy may affect students’ CST scores.  This does not mean that our students are any less proficient in science than they used to be.  It simply means that teachers are transitioning to the more rigorous Next Generation Science Standards and may not cover all of the same content from the former state science standards.


    What are our beliefs about state standardized testing in Mill Valley School District?

    In Mill Valley, one of our core beliefs is to focus on the whole child.  State tests are only one measure of a student’s success in school.  CAASPP tests provide one snapshot of our students’ knowledge and skills.  We also refer to progress report grades, student work, tests and quizzes, contributions in the classroom, performances, along with other important tools to gauge our students’ progress.  We encourage you to keep these state tests in perspective of our overall goals for our students’ development.


    What do I need to know about the CAASPP/Smarter Balanced Assessments?

    ●      The computer-adaptive format of the Smarter Balanced Assessment adjusts the level of difficulty based upon a student’s responses.

    ●      There is a wide variety of question types, including short and long answer, multiple-choice, and highlighting parts of the text, among other kinds of questions.

    ●      Students are tasked with demonstrating critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and applying their knowledge and skills to real-world problems.

    ●      There are embedded supports for students with different needs.

    ●      These tests have a four-level scoring scale, which includes Standard Exceeded, Standard Met, Standard Nearly Met, and Standard Not Met. 

    ●      Your child’s results will be mailed to you in the summer.  

    To learn more about CAASPP testing, visit these sites: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/ and http://www.caaspp.org/.  If you have questions about CAASPP testing, please speak with the principal at your child’s school.


    Other Resources