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CAASPP/SBAC -- Frequently Asked Questions

State Testing - 2017 - CAASPP/SBAC

Q: When is testing this year?

A: For English Language Arts, testing will occur from 4/11 - 4/12, for Math, testing will occur on 4/12-4/13.  Both the English Language Arts testing  and Math testing will take place in 11th Grade Tutorial classes on an extended Tutorial Bell Schedule. There is no change to the time that school begins and end. There are approximately 8 total hours of testing.

Q: What are the Smarter Balanced Assessments?

A: Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium (SBAC) is a series of assessments taken by students in 3rd – 8th grade and 11th grade. These new assessments make use of computer adaptive technology, which is more precise and efficient than paper testing. The assessments provide real-time information during the year to give teachers and parents a picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.

Q: What will the SBAC assessments cover?

A: The online math and English assessments each have two components:

  • Computer-adaptive assessments: A set of assessment questions in a variety of formats that are customized to each student based on answers to previous questions.
  • Performance tasks: Collections of questions and activities that are coherently connected to a single theme or scenario. These activities are meant to measure capacities such as depth of understanding, writing and research skills, complex analysis and critical thinking.

Q: How will SBAC contribute to student success?

A: The end-of-year assessments will empower students and parents by providing them with a clear indication of how well students are progressing toward mastering the academic knowledge and skills necessary to progress in their grade level toward becoming college and career ready.

Q: What are advantages of the SBAC Assessment?


  • Timely and meaningful assessment data can offer specific information about areas of performance so that students, parents, and teachers can follow up with targeted instruction and make more informed decisions when ordering curriculum. Results will be sent to families much more quickly than in the past.
  • Students in 11th grade will have an opportunity to earn an early exemption from remedial math and English college courses (CAASPP/SBAC provides an indication of the students readiness level for community college and the CSU system).
  • Students experience an online testing environment which will prepare them for the new online formats of the ACT, SAT, college applications, and job applications.

Q: It’s just a standardized test. Why should I care?

A: Like it or not, standardized tests are part of American life. Get your driver’s license. Become a truck driver, teacher, firefighter, nurse, or law enforcement officer. Get into an apprenticeship program in the building trades. Join the service. Work for the government. Go to college or grad school. Get a home loan. All of these involve filling out forms, bubbling the right answer, and scoring high enough on the test or scale. Don’t like it? We don’t always like it either. But we live with it as a part of the system and society within which we live and work.

Q: How else does this affect me?

A: Doing well shows that you have learned the key concepts and it helps you qualify for more advanced classes (The AHS Priority Ranking System). Student transcripts and your college applications look stronger when they come from a school that does well as compared to similar schools. When AHS does well, teachers have more flexibility to create interesting projects and activities for students. When scores go down, there is more pressure to teach in ways that directly relate to test content.

Q: Is this an intelligence test?

A: No, this is a performance test on specific academic content.

Q: What does the test measure?

A: Students in 11th grade will have an opportunity to earn an early exemption from remedial Math and English college courses (CAASPP/SBAC provides an indication of the students readiness level for community college and the CSU system).

Q: One more time—what’s in it for me to do well on this test?

A: Because you’re savvy enough to know that doing your best still counts for something. Show your school pride and show what you know!


updated 3/11/17