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Parent Resources


Shortly before school ended for the year, students participated in the 2016-17 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), which includes the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. These tests are based on California’s challenging academic standards, which include the ability to write clearly, think critically, and solve problems—the very skills needed to succeed in college and a 21st century career. These skills take time and effort to master, but our students will need them to succeed in the long run.

In our school district, we see a student’s test results as one measure of his or her academic progress. They will not be used to determine whether a student moves to the next grade. Schools can use the results to identify specific areas in which to focus more attention in the next school year, while teachers can use the results to identify and address individual student needs. We recommend that parents and/or guardians discuss the test results with their child’s teacher.

Student score reports will be mailed home over the next several weeks. The student score report shows your child’s achievement for ELA and math. Please take a few moments to review it. You’ll notice that along with an overall score for each subject, there is also information about how your child performed in different skill areas associated with ELA and math.

Here are some resources to assist in understanding the information in the student score reports:
Sample Student Score Reports Resources




Each spring, most students in California participate in the statewide testing program, which is the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. The tests in the CAASPP System provide information to teachers, parents/guardians, and students about students’ progress and readiness for college and career. In grades three through eight and grade eleven, most students take the Smarter Balanced online tests for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. However, students who have a significant cognitive disability (as designated in their individualized education program) are eligible to take the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs). In grades five, eight, and ten, students are also tested in science. The Smarter Balanced online tests are based on the new California Content Standards, also known as the Common Core State Standards, for mathematics and ELA.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has developed several resources to help students and parents understand the grade expectations of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments:

The Parent Guides to the Smarter Balanced Assessments (in English and Spanish) are posted on the CDE's CAASPP Web page, under the Students and Parents tab, or accessible from the links below.
The practice and training tests, which can be found on the CDE's Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests Web page can help parents and students experience the type of test items that students will encounter on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Answers to the practice test and scoring rubrics for the performance tests are posted on the Test Administrator (TA) Resources for the Smarter Balanced Practice and Training Tests Web page.
California has adopted new science standards and is currently developing assessments that are aligned with these standards. During the transition to new science assessments, students in grades five, eight, and ten will take the CST or CMA, as identified above. For information on the new science assessments and who is eligible for each of these science tests, please see the CDE’s California Science Assessments FAQ Web page. For information about the content, types of questions, and other targeted resources for the science tests, please see the CDE’s CAASPP Science Assessment Web page.
If you would like more information about the CAASPP System, please visit the Parent/Student tab of the CDE’s CAASPP Web page.
If you would like more information or resources about alternate assessments, please visit the CDE’s CAASPP Alternate Assessments Web page.


How are the Smarter Balanced Assessments different from the old tests and what do the scores mean? Results of our students’ Smarter Balanced Assessments will be released in the coming weeks. The scores will tell you how your child is doing under Common Core, the updated learning standards for math and English language arts. These standards focus more on real-world skills like critical thinking and problem solving.

We’ll send your child’s results in a Student Score Report. Students will receive an overall score for each subject, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000. This score shows if students met, did not meet or exceeded expectations for their grade. The second page of the report includes a further breakdown of that score, providing individualized information on your child’s academic strengths and potential challenges. This short video explains why testing student progress is important.

The new assessments are fundamentally different from the old tests, so you shouldn’t try to compare these results with your child’s previous scores—they’re measuring different things. These results are a starting place for a detailed record of your child’s progress through school, which will help you, and our school, give them the support they need to succeed. This year’s tests establish a baseline, so the results won’t be used to determine if your child moves on to the next grade. Read more about the Score Reports at the California Department of Education website.


What do the Common Core standards and Smarter Balanced assessments mean for high school students planning for college? There are a few pieces of key information parents with students preparing for college should know about the updated standards and assessments.
  • Higher education in California strongly supports Common Core, including the University of California, CSU, CCC, and Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Learn more about California college and university support of Common Core here and here.
  • The Smarter Balanced assessments were developed with the cooperation of the California State University System (CSU). For students planning to attend a CSU or most California community colleges, meeting/exceeding expectations on the 11th grade test can be used to prove they’re ready for college level work and won’t need to take remedial English or math courses. This can save time and money in the first years of college. For students who fall short of meeting the 11th grade standards, the test provides an early warning on areas to focus on during their senior year to be prepared for non-remedial course when entering college. Additional information is available here.
  • Beginning in 2016 the updated SAT will be aligned with the Common Core standards. That means the critical thinking, problem-solving and reading and writing skills emphasized by Common Core will help prepare your child for that important test.


Practice tests are available at

The practice tests can be taken by parents, teachers, students, and others and will give information about the type of test questions that students will see in different grades and subject areas.

Go to the Web site address listed above and click on the green box that says “Practice and Training Tests”. Next, click on the green box that says "Student Interface Practice and Training Tests". Then, click “Sign-In” on the next screen to get started.


CAASPP FAQs About Smarter Balanced addresses common questions that are asked about the Smarter Balanced Assessments including how they were developed and what the tests measure.


This year’s tests establish a baseline, and the results won’t be used to determine if your child moves on to the next grade. The new tests were an adjustment for students, and it was expected that the first year’s scores would leave room for significant improvement.

The new Score Reports provide more detailed information than the old STAR scores, because they pinpoint specific areas where students need more support, or where they could be accelerated in the future. You can work together with your child’s teachers or school administrators to identify subjects where your child could improve, and focus on making progress in the coming school year. Testing is important, but it’s only one way to gauge how students are doing. Your child’s scores will be taken into account as part of a broader look at their academic progress. A guide to help you understand and use your child’s Score Report is here.


You can talk to your child’s teachers or other school leaders about how the Common Core standards are being taught in the classroom, and where to find study guides and other tools to provide extra help at home. Talk to your child about what they’re learning in school, where they feel they are doing well and where they feel they need more help.

There are many online resources to help you provide the extra support your child needs to tackle their challenges in school. This website has learning tools for each subject, broken down by grade level. You’ll find information on how to make the most of the new school year here.



Your child’s teacher or principal is the best place to start if you have other questions about testing this spring.

Additional questions and answers about the CAASPP system can be found on the California Department of Education’s Web site at

Parents can also find other information on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Web page at


Our students took the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the tests that measure learning under Common Core last spring. Common Core is a set of academic standards, or learning goals, for math and English that define what our students should know and be able to do at the end of each school year. For example, by the end of third grade, our kids should be able to measure and estimate weights of liquid and solve word problems using those quantities. You can read the standards here.
The standards were developed based on education research and proven best practices from schools in California and across the country. They’re designed to promote critical thinking and help ensure that our students graduate with the skills they need to be ready for the future. However, Common Core doesn't dictate the curriculum or lesson plans — our teachers and school leaders still make those decisions. Read more at the Common Core website, the California State PTA site, The California Department of Education, and Embrace the Core.


Before we started using them in our schools, the Common Core Standards were developed by a group of teachers, state governors and education leaders from 48 states. This group first came together in 2009 to establish learning goals based on education research and existing best practices with a proven track record of student success. State participation in the development process was voluntary, and so was the decision to adopt the standards here in California in 2010. Read more here.


You may have noticed changes in your child’s homework. The updated standards in both areas—math and English—emphasize critical thinking. For math, this means many homework problems now have two parts: the solution to the problem, and a section where your child is asked to explain how they got their answers. Go here for a side-by-side comparison of examples of updated math questions with the old style of homework. Specific resources for Eureka math are available. You can also find Common Core math resources for parents here.


The tests which measure learning under Common Core were completed last spring across our district. The Common Core standards focus on the skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, that will help your child succeed in the future. California’s updated standards also help educators teach those skills by providing learning goals that are much clearer than those we used in the past. With solid new guidelines to measure your child’s progress toward those clear goals, we now can give them the individualized support they need and give you more information on how your child is doing, including how they’re improving from year to year. You can see all of the Common Core standards at the Common Core website.


California’s new standards (i.e., Common Core State Standards or CCSS) set higher expectations for our students than ever before. These higher expectations were carefully developed by classroom teachers, community colleges, colleges, universities, and leaders in the workforce. They represent the skills that today’s students need to succeed in college, career, and life. Skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and strong writing so that our children are competitive with peers from around the world. Measuring these skills requires different types of test questions.


Each year the district is required to notify parents or guardians of their pupil’s participation in the CAASPP assessment system in accordance with Education Code section 60604. Each year students in grades 3-8 and 11 in the Snowline Joint Unified School District will participate in the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) assessment system in accordance with Education Code section 60604. The CAASPP assessment system plays an integral role in helping teachers get students ready for college and careers. The notification to parents or guardians, as defined in subdivision (a), shall include a notice of the provisions outlined in Education Code section 60615. A parent or guardian may annually submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of any test provided pursuant to Education Code section 60640 for the school year. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil’s records. An LEA and its employees may discuss the CAASPP assessment system with parents and may inform parents of the availability of exemptions under Education Code section 60615. The LEA and its employees shall not solicit or encourage any written exemption request on behalf of any child or group of children. NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 33031 and 60640, Education Code. Reference: Sections 60604, 60605, 60607, 60612, 60615, 60640 and 60641, Education Code


You receive information about how your child is doing in school through grades on tests and classroom assignments, as well as by talking with your child’s teacher. The new test results will give you another piece of information about how well your child is learning what is expected for his or her grade and how well your child is doing compared to other students in the same grade.

Think of the test results as one part of an academic “wellness” check for your child – similar to when you take your child to the doctor for their annual checkups. The test results, combined with all the other information you have about your child, give you a good sense of where your child is doing well and where he or she might benefit from some extra help. And, most importantly this information will give insight into your child’s readiness for college and career early enough to address any areas where he or she might need extra support.


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