What Parents Should Keep in Mind
Every day, throughout our school district, educators are assessing student learning and the effectiveness of our instructional programs. Feedback about what students know and are able to do helps us to improve our teaching and identify how best to serve our students. That’s why we use multiple measures to assess student learning in our district, including teacher observation and local assessments that are administered throughout the year.
Since each student improves daily, families are urged to maintain regular communication with teachers. Student work, periodic report cards, local and state assessments are all important tools in keeping families informed about how their student is progressing in school. Families should also keep in mind the areas in which students are not formally tested. These include the arts, music, nutrition, and gardening. All of these areas contribute to a student’s overall learning and experience.
Principals and teachers can use this comprehensive information to make necessary instructional adjustments to improve classroom instruction, and thus each child’s personal success. The Berkeley Research, Evaluation & Assessment (BREA) Office is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and using data to help educators continuously improve our instructional programs. BUSD staff has been able to look at preliminary state test results to make important decisions about staff and resource allocations as early as June. Individual student reports are available to families in the fall through the family portal. State, district, and site results are available through a public portal.
A Changing Landscape for State Assessments
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) has replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. The CAASPP program is only one part of the state’s multiple-measure dashboard. The Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) in English Language Arts and mathematics are important metrics used to measure student progress in grades 3-8, and 11. Similarly, the California Science Test (CAST) provides information on students’ understanding of the science standards in grades 5, 8, and 11/12. The California Alternate Assessments (CAA) in ELA, Mathematics and Science are designed to track the academic progress of the students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Additionally, the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is a valuable indicator measuring annual progress towards English proficiency. Finally, the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is administered to all students in grades 5, 7, and 9 to assess fitness levels.
For frequently asked questions about the state assessments, please review the following guides for families:
- Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments (PDF)
Other translations of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments parent guide.
- California Science Test (PDF)
Other translations of the California Science Test parent guide.
- California Alternate Assessments (PDF)
Other translations of the California Alternate Assessments parent guide.
- English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (PDF)
Other translations of the English Proficiency Assessments of California parent guide.
- Physical Fitness Test (PDF)
- Practice Tests