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California State Standardized Testing

California State Standardized Testing
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Standardized tests can serve as a thermometer of how well a student is understanding specific academic subjects and skills. Whether your child attends a public or private school or is homeschooled in California, he or she will likely encounter a standardized test at some point during their school career.

Results from these tests can help identify gaps in knowledge or skills early on so your child can get the support needed to be successful in school. The key skills addressed in these tests are the ability to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems–all skills that will likely be required in future college and career scenarios.

On this page, you will discover information about California state testing, including the types of tests required, testing dates, and the grade levels targeted. You’ll also learn how you can help your child prepare for standardized tests in California.

What State Tests Are Available in California?

In California, state testing for traditionally schooled students is known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Assessments. In terms of California standardized testing, elementary school students and high school students alike are assessed similarly.

Homeschooled students using the charter option will also, in most cases, be subject to CAASPP assessments.  Below is a breakdown of the types of tests administered to these students.

  • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments – All students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 will be tested on their skills in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. Tests are completed online and are computer adaptive, meaning that the difficulty level of the questions is dependent on the answers students give.
  • The California Science Test (CAST) – CAST is designed to assess a student’s ability to think critically and to solve problems. It is administered to students in grades 5 and 8 and once in high school. The two-hour test is computer-based and uses many different types of questions to gauge student competence.
  • California Alternate Assessments – If indicated by a student’s IEP, he or she may be eligible for an alternate assessment. Unlike traditional tests, these assessments are completed one-on-one with a test examiner who is familiar with the student and their needs. Only students with significant cognitive disabilities would be eligible for this option.
  • Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) – The results of physical fitness tests in California are used to help students plan personal fitness programs and to help parents understand their child’s current fitness levels. These tests are administered in grades 5, 7, and 9.
  • English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) – For students whose primary language is not English, the ELPAC assesses four domains: listening, speaking, writing, and reading. The purpose of the test is to make sure these students receive the support they need to succeed in school. An initial assessment is given to any student in grades K-12 for whom English is not their first language. Summative assessments are given each following year until the student is reclassified as English fluent.

Wondering about opting out of state testing in California? California is one of the few states in the US that has a law allowing parents to opt their public-schooled children out of standardized testing.

When is California Standardized Testing?

In California, each school selects its own testing period, which could be anytime from January through the end of the school year. Contact your individual school for exact testing dates and times.

Do Homeschoolers Have To Take Standardized Tests in California?

For homeschoolers, the testing requirements depend on the option each family chooses under California homeschool laws. Home-based private schools, for instance, do not have testing requirements; however, charter school students have the same standardized testing protocol as any other public school student.

Even if you don’t use an option where standardized testing is mandated, you may decide that you would like your homeschooler to participate in testing. Some parents use yearly standardized tests as a benchmark system to note how much progress students are making. Others use them to identify any potential gaps in their curriculum or their child’s retention of it. Although those homeschooling under the private school option do not have access to school-administered standardized tests, there are many private, nationally-normed, standardized testing options families can choose from.

How Time4Learning Can Help with California Test Prep

The real preparation for CAASPP tests, and any California standardized test that assesses a wide range of core educational concepts, is to steadily build and master fundamental skills in math, reading and writing. Time4Learning’s standards-based curriculum is a program that students can use—right from the comfort of home—to build the skills that will be tested.

Some of the reasons that families depend on Time4Learning to help their students with California state test practice include:

  • Time4Learning’s online format parallels the online assessment used for California’s assessments.
  • Our curriculum contains interactive lessons and tons of practice in Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and more, to help prepare students for California high school standardized tests.
  • Time4MathFacts teaches the crucial math facts through gamified lessons as part of the Time4Learning membership. This piece of our main curriculum prepares students in elementary school for the California standardized testing.
  • Parents can pick and choose which topics and concepts to have students cover in order to remediate weak areas or fill in gaps in their learning.
  • Because of its appeal to multiple learning styles, Time4Learning can help students with learning differences and cognitive difficulties prepare for the California Alternate Assessments.
  • Printable reports allow parents to see student progress and test readiness at a glance.
  • Students in grades 3-8 have access to practice assessments that will help them prepare for the California standardized tests and reduce test anxiety.
  • The fun, multimedia style of the curriculum feels more like a video game, making students more motivated to practice.

Through preparation and practice, your child can achieve successful results when taking standardized tests in California. In addition, skill-building programs like Time4Learning can prepare your child and build their academic confidence while reducing test anxiety.

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