State Testing

Smarter Balance & CASSPP

California Testing

The assessments that comprise the CAASPP administration include computer-based and paper-pencil assessments. The computer-based assessments are the Smarter Balanced English language arts/literacy (ELA), the grade level mathematics tests, and 8th grade pilot Science test. The paper-pencil assessments include the optional Standards-based Tests in Spanish (STS) for Reading/Language Arts (RLA).

The Smarter Balanced approach includes a number of differences from most state assessments today.

  • These assessments will be administered online and will go beyond multiple choice questions to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills.
  • In addition to a year-end test, teachers will be able to administer interim assessments throughout the school year to monitor student progress and make adjustments to instruction.
  • Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) - A core feature of Smarter Balanced assessments is that they are customized for each student for a more accurate measurement for every student. To accomplish this, the computer-based test adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment based on the student’s response. If a student answers a question correctly, the next question will be harder; if a student answers incorrectly, the next question will be easier. This system is called computer adaptive testing, and it is part of the summative (end-of-year) assessments.
  • Accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners will be built into the system so that the progress of students can be accurately measured.
  • An online reporting system will provide clear, easy-to-understand data on student achievement and growth. These reports will present parents, teachers, principals, and other local and state leaders with information they can use to help students make even greater progress. 
  • Check out sample ELA and Mathematics questions at:

Reporting Scores

After students take the Smarter Balanced assessments, their results are reported in two primary ways: Scale Scores and Achievement Levels. A Scale Score is the number that a student scored on the test, and Achievement Levels are broader proficiency categories students fall into based on their Scale Scores. On this page, you can learn more about scores, as well as how Achievement Levels were determined and how they are used by educators and parents.

Scale Scores -Scale Scores are the basic units of reporting. These scores fall on a continuous scale (from approximately 2000 to 3000) that increases across grade levels. Scale Scores can be used to illustrate students’ current level of achievement and their growth over time. 

Achievement Levels - Based on their Scale Scores, students fall into one of four categories of performance called Achievement Levels. These categories are defined by Achievement Level Descriptors, the specifications for what knowledge and skills students display at each level (i.e., Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4). We refer to these categories as Levels. Students performing at Levels 3 and 4 are considered on track to demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary for college and career readiness.

test taking tips

Understanding the Smarter Balanced Individual Student Report

smarter balanced
Smarter Balanced

1. Keyboarding - Since these tests are computerized, students will need to be proficient in keyboarding. Students that do not know the basics of typing will struggle with adding content to their answers. We suggest spending 10-20 minutes a day practicing typing.

2. Reading Directions - We all know the importance of reading directions. The directions on these exams may have more than one part, and may require students to do things that they haven’t had to do before. For example, students may have to: highlight, underline, strike through, and even cut and paste on the computer.

3. Informational Text - The SBAC assessment has a fair amount of informational text (non-fiction) on the reading/writing portion of the test. During silent reading time or contracted reading time at home, encourage your child to not only reading informational text, but also guide them in reading strategies that would help them understand what they were reading. 

4. Close Reading - Close Reading is careful reading and re-reading of text and it is incorporated throughout the assessments. When reading at home, help your child by asking what background knowledge they have on the topic, discuss any key vocabulary or academic words you see, and set the stage for reading. Here are some strategies to try at home that we practice in the classroom: Try for the first read, having your child read to gain an understanding of the text. They can underline key concepts, circle words that are difficult, or make marks with any other text they want to share. For the second read, have them share their thoughts with you. Ask your child to look for this evidence in their reading and underline it. For the third read, have your child dig deep with questions (prepared or that evolve as you read) you may even have your child use written responses to questions. Close reading is a great strategy to use to help prepare our students for the exams.

5. Make sure your child gets enough sleep prior to and during the testing days. Their body and mind needs rest and being able to come to school rested and ready is important.

6. Encourage your child to eat a good, healthy breakfast.

7. Last, but not least, encourage your child come to school with a positive attitude and a smile – knowing that they can do this!

JMS Testing Schedules

During the 16-17 School Year Jefferson will be testing during the weeks of May 1st, May 8th and May 15th.

To view Testing Schedules, Click on the Links below:

CST Science Assessment

General Information

Students in grades five, eight, and ten are required to take a science assessment. Currently, the CAASPP paper-pencil science assessments administered are based on the content standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in 1998.

California Standards Tests

The California Standards Tests (CSTs) for Science are multiple-choice tests. Items on these tests were developed by California educators and test developers and written specifically to assess students’ achievement of California’s academic content standards for science that were adopted by the SBE in 1998.