Academics in Santa Cruz City Schools adhere to the content standards developed by the California State Board of Education. To learn more about what your student will learn in each content area, by grade, visit the California Department of Education Content Standardsicon-outbound-link.gif. Curriculum and testing is the responsibility of the Curriculum Department in our Education Services division. For information about special academic programs, visit our District Programs.

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CAHSEE Testing

CAHSEE Practice questions: Click here



CAASPP testing, Student Reports

Understanding Student Score Report, 3 min video--outside source

Understanding Student Score Report--SPANISH, 4 min video-outside source

Recoursos en español


What is CAASPP testing?

California’s new Common Core State Standards (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. With this in mind, this spring your child participated in the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessments.  This assessment  takes the place of the STAR tests. How are CAASPP tests different from STAR tests?


Participants include 3rd-8th and 11th graders. . .

caaspp 2014 15 grade span testing

There are new “Item Types” not just Multiple Choice. . .

  • Some questions were multiple choice but others required students to type their answers, to drag and drop things in different parts of the screen, to highlight critical parts of a reading passage, or to draw a graph

  • Questions require deeper thinking – it’s not as simple as choosing between 1 of 4 possible answers

  • Performance tasks (PT) are included. These tasks require students to participate in a classroom activity followed by completing a written task. The PT is designed to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and higher order thinking skills to explore and analyze a complex, real world scenario


We are testing in a new platform, on technology. . .

  • All students take the tests on a computer.  Most students will use a Chromebook device. 

  • Tests are computer-adaptive meaning that the difficulty of the questions adjusts based on the answers students give. As students answer questions correctly, they receive more challenging questions. Incorrect answers trigger easier questions. This feature helps keep students engaged, shortens testing time for many students, and provides more accurate results, especially for low- or high-achieving students

  • Unlike paper and pencil tests where every student received the exact same test with the exact same questions, these online tests gave different experiences for different students

  • As students answer questions correctly, they received more challenging questions

  • Incorrect questions triggered easier questions

  • This feature of the new tests kept students engaged, shortened testing time for many students, and provided more accurate results


When reviewing results, please keep in mind. . .

  • Results cannot be compared to prior years – these are new tests measuring new standards and the results are reported differently

  • Comparing against prior year scores is like comparing apples and oranges. It isn’t a valid comparison

  • Please view the California Department of Education video for more details on how to interpret your student’s scores at

  • Front page of the report displays your child’s Overall Scale Score and Achievement level

  • Back page of the report displays Overall Scale Score breakdown, how your child performed on different elements of the subject tests

  • For 11th graders: Early Assessment Program score is also reported, and for 5th, 8th, 10th graders, CST Science scores are reported


Santa Cruz City Schools acknowledges the responsibility to maintain high academic standards, and will continue to provide comprehensive instructional support to assist all learners in meeting their goals. We evaluate the results carefully, and set our annual goals in part based on how our students perform on these standards-based exams. In addition, educational leaders recognize that test performance is only one of multiple ways to assess what a child knows and is able to do. We recognize that all students are unique, diverse, and deserve our ongoing commitment to their success both in the classroom and beyond.

For more information on these assessments, please visit:



Jennifer Wildman   Director of Curriculum and Assessment   429-3410 ext 243
Junnúe Partida District Assessment Specialist 429-3410 ext 256