Appendix A: Frequently Used Terms

Table 1 defines terms that are related to CAASPP testing in California.

Table 1. Frequently Used Terms

Term Definition
Accommodation

An accommodation is a change in procedures or materials that increases equitable access during the CAASPP assessments. Assessment accommodations generate valid assessment results for students who need them; they allow these students to show what they know and can do. Accommodations are available for students with documented IEPs or Section 504 plans. Approved accommodations do not compromise the learning expectations, construct, grade-level standard, or intended outcome of the assessments.

Refer to the following resources for additional information:

Appeal Authorized users—LEA CAASPP coordinators and CAASPP test site coordinators—may submit and view requests for resetting, re-opening or invalidating students’ summative assessments in accordance with state policy. These requests must result from a test security incident or incorrect test setting that impacted summative testing and is reported using the STAIRS/‌Appeals process. Appeal requests must be approved either by the CDE (Grace Period Extension, Invalidate, or Restore) or CalTAC (Reset and Re-open).
Block There are five blocks that make up the whole of the CAST within the TDS. Blocks are composed of either stand-alone items or PTs. When a student completes one block of the test, they will receive a message that indicates that once that block is completed it is no longer possible to return to that block.
Breach

A breach is a security event that poses a threat to the validity of the summative assessments. Examples may include such situations as a release of secure materials or a security or system risk. These circumstances have external implications for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the CDE, or both, and may result in a decision to remove the test item(s) from the available secure bank. The LEA CAASPP coordinator must immediately report the breach, including social media exposure on the part of a student or adult or media coverage of an administration, by calling CalTAC at 800-955-2954. In addition, the coordinator must report the incident using the STAIRS/Appeals process available in TOMS for all other breaches.

For more information on how to proceed using the STAIRS/Appeals process when an incident has occurred, please refer to the subsection Using STAIRS of this manual and the CAASPP and ELPAC Security Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide.

Break

There is no limit on the number of breaks or the length of a break that a student may be given according to the student’s unique needs. However, for some portions of the test, breaks of more than 20 minutes will prevent the student from returning to items already attempted, completed, or flagged for review by the student, or incomplete free-response items.

For a PT, the student can break for any amount of time and still return to any previously answered item within the PT’s current segment only.

CAASPP test site coordinator The CAASPP test site coordinator is the school staff member responsible for monitoring the test schedule, process, test administrators, and test examiners. CAASPP test site coordinators also are responsible for ensuring that test administrators and test examiners have been appropriately trained and that testing is conducted in accordance with the test security and other policies and procedures established by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the CDE. CAASPP test site coordinators must have submitted an electronically signed CAASPP Test Security Agreement and Test Security Affidavit in TOMS.
California Alternate Assessment (CAA) The summative CAAs for ELA, mathematics, and science are administered to eligible students. The CAAs are for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and whose IEP team has designated the use of an alternate assessment on all statewide summative assessments. Students are eligible to take the CAA only if it is indicated in their active IEP.
California Science Test (CAST) Online science assessment administered to students in grades five, eight, and a high school grade (ten, eleven, or twelve).
California Spanish Assessment (CSA) Online optional assessment that measures student’s skills in reading, writing mechanics, and listening. The CSA, which is presented in Spanish, is available to serve students who speak Spanish as their primary language, as well as those who are learning Spanish as an additional language.
Computer adaptive test (CAT) Based on student responses, the computer program selects the difficulty of items throughout the assessment. By adapting to the student as the assessment is taking place, these assessments present an individually tailored set of items to each student and provide more accurate scores for all students across the full range of the achievement continuum.
Designated support

A designated support is a type of accessibility resource of the assessments available for use by any student for whom the need has been indicated by an educator or team of educators working with the parent/‌guardian and student.

Refer to the following resources for additional information:

Educator – District This role is filled by LEA personnel granted access by the LEA CAASPP coordinator to assessment results in the ORS and CERS for the entire LEA.
Educator – Test Site This role is filled by LEA or school personnel granted access to assessment results in the ORS and CERS for an entire school.
Educator – Roster This role is filled by LEA or school personnel granted access to assessment results in an associated roster in the ORS and CERS. Rosters of students are created and assigned to the user by the LEA CAASPP coordinator or test site coordinator. Note that unless the user has been assigned to a student roster, the user cannot review any student results in the ORS.
Embedded PT The CAA for Science includes four embedded PTs that are administered shortly after the student receives instruction on the related science content. An embedded PT is a series of related test questions that are aligned with the Science Connectors. Test examiners can administer the four embedded PTs to students at any time and in any order throughout the instructional calendar.
Full-write The full-write is a component of the ELA PT that requires the student to develop an informative or explanatory, narrative, or opinion or argumentative multiple paragraph piece of writing for which the student engages the full writing process.
Grace Period Extension

A Grace Period Extension Appeal for CAT summative assessments and the CAST allows the student to review previously answered questions upon logging back on to the assessment after expiration of the pause rule. Note that for a PT, having the test administrator open a new testing session may be all that is needed to continue testing.

Note: A grace period extension will only be granted in cases where the test had been paused for 20 minutes or more because there was a disruption to a test session, such as a technical difficulty, fire drill, schoolwide power outage, earthquake, or other act beyond the control of the test administrator.

IA Administrator Only This role is filled by LEA or school personnel responsible for administering only the interim assessments to students.
Impropriety

An impropriety is an unusual circumstance that has a low impact on the individual or group of students who are taking summative assessments and has a low risk of potentially affecting student performance on the test, test security, or test validity. These circumstances can be corrected and contained at the local level.

For specific details on how to proceed using the STAIRS/‌Appeals process when an incident has occurred, please refer to the subsection Using STAIRS of this manual and the CAASPP and ELPAC Security Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide.

Invalidate

Invalidate is a specific Appeal for summative assessments in the Appeals system. Tests invalidated after filing an Appeal will be scored and scores will be provided on the Student Score Report (with a note that an irregularity occurred). The student(s) will be counted as not participated in the calculation of the school’s participation rate for federal accountability purposes.

Permission for an Invalidate Appeal is initiated by first reporting an incident and then submitting an Appeal using the STAIRS/‌Appeals process through TOMS. While the request was made to invalidate a student’s summative assessment, the student may be permitted to finish it. Refer to the CAASPP and ELPAC Security and Test Administration Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide for more information on the Appeals process.

Irregularity

An irregularity is an unusual circumstance that impacts an individual or group of students who are taking summative assessments and may potentially affect student performance on the tests, test security, or test validity. These circumstances can be corrected and contained at the local level but reported using the STAIRS/Appeals process for resolution of the Appeal.

For specific details on how to proceed using the STAIRS/‌Appeals process when an incident has occurred, please refer to the subsection Using STAIRS of this manual and the CAASPP and ELPAC Security Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide.

Item An item is a test question or stimulus presented to a student to elicit a response.
LEA CAASPP coordinator The LEA CAASPP coordinator is an LEA-level staff member who is responsible for the overall administration of the summative assessments in an LEA. LEA CAASPP coordinators should ensure that the CAASPP test site coordinators, test administrators, and test examiners in their LEA are appropriately trained and aware of policies and procedures. LEA CAASPP coordinators are designated by their district superintendents or the administrator of their independently testing charter school and must have submitted an electronically signed CAASPP Test Security Agreement in TOMS.
Pause

A pause is an action taken by a student, test administrator, or test examiner to temporarily halt the test during any part of the test, as needed. Pauses of more than 20 minutes in the CAT component of the test will prevent the student from returning to items already attempted, completed, flagged for review, or any combination of these statuses.

For a PT, the student can pause for any amount of time and still return to any previously answered item within the PT’s current segment only. More information on test pausing is available in the subsection General Test Administration Information.

Performance task (PT) A PT is an item type 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. It is a required portion of the test. (Note that there are no PTs for the online CAAs for ELA and mathematics.)
Re-open

A Re-open Appeal is a specific Appeal type that applies to a test that has already been submitted or has expired and allows the student to access the previously closed test.

For example, a summative assessment may be reopened if a student started a test and became ill and was unable to resume testing until after the testing opportunity expired.

In the case of a student inadvertently accessing a summative assessment before the student was scheduled to take it, the LEA should open a STAIRS case in TOMS and keep it in the Draft status. The LEA will receive an email as a result of the delayed Appeal from ca-assessments@ets.org instructing the user to return to TOMS to submit the STAIRS case a few days before the student is scheduled to test.

Permission for a Re-open is initiated by first reporting an incident and then submitting an Appeal using the online STAIRS/Appeals process through TOMS. Refer to the CAASPP and ELPAC Security and Test Administration Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide for more information on the Appeals process.

Reading passage/‌Passage A reading passage is a type of stimulus (refer to the definition of stimulus). When “reading passage” or “passage” is referenced on the Smarter Balanced assessment, it is to differentiate this type of stimulus from others on the assessment. “Reading passage” or “passage” is used when speaking about the reading passages that are part of the ELA assessment.
Reset

A Reset Appeal is a specific Appeal type which, when applied, removes a student’s test from the system and enables the student to start a new test. Any work previously done on the test would be lost.

Valid reasons for a Reset would be if a student’s summative test event was administered inconsistently with the student’s IEP (this would include both embedded and non-embedded accommodations) or if the student started a test and did not have a needed language resource (such as a language glossary).

Permission for a Reset is initiated by first reporting an incident and then submitting an Appeal using the online STAIRS/‌Appeals process in TOMS. Refer to the CAASPP and ELPAC Security and Test Administration Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide for more information on the Appeals process.

Restore

A Restore Appeal is a specific appeal type for summative assessments in the Appeals system that restores a test from the “Reset” status to its prior status when, for example, test was inadvertently or inappropriately reset as result of a Reset Appeal submitted earlier. This action can only be performed on assessments that have been reset by the LEA. When restored, the student’s assessment will resume at the last unanswered item.

An LEA CAASPP coordinator must contact CalTAC to submit a Restore appeal on behalf of the LEA. The CDE approves a Restore Appeal and grants permission to restore a test(s).

Secondary test examiner

A secondary test examiner will observe a student’s response to rubric-scored items at the time of testing and score the student’s response using the provided rubric in the DFA. The score should reflect the test examiner’s independent judgement.

A secondary test examiner must enter the second score into the online DEI.

Like the primary test examiner, a secondary test examiner is also assigned the CAASPP test examiner role. A CAASPP test examiner is a credentialed or licensed LEA or school employee responsible for scoring rubric-scored items for the CAA for ELA in a secure manner in compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in this manual and the secure CAA DFA. Test examiners are required to have submitted an electronically signed CAASPP Test Security Affidavit in TOMS.

Secure browser The secure browser is a software application that is downloaded and installed on a device prior to a student beginning the test. The secure browser is specifically designed for use with the CAASPP online assessments to provide secure access and prevent students from accessing specific hardware and software functions (for example, web browsers, screenshot programs) that are not allowed during the assessments. The current version of the secure browser, 12.5, does not have auto update capability and must always be updated manually.
Security and Test Administration Incident Reporting System (STAIRS)/‌Appeals process The STAIRS/Appeals process is the means by which LEAs and schools report a test security incident or other testing issue that interferes with the administration and completion of the summative assessments and then, if required, submit an Appeal request. The first step is reporting the incident using the STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS; an Appeal cannot be requested without the submission of this data-entry screen. The system returns an email with a summary of the information submitted that the recipient should retain for at least a year. The STAIRS/Appeals process is used to report incidents that occur with summative assessments only.
Segment A segment is part of a test within the TDS. Depending on the test, segments typically separate items from others if the eligible tools are different (i.e., the mathematics test may have two segments—one segment that allows calculator use and another segment that does not). When a student completes a segment of the test, the student will receive a message that indicates that once that segment is submitted it is no longer possible to return to that segment.
Session

A session is a timeframe in which students actively test in a single sitting. The length of a test session is determined by building or LEA administrators who are knowledgeable about the periods in the building and the timing needs associated with the assessment. Smarter Balanced recommends that session durations range between 40 and 120 minutes for the online Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. However, all online CAASPP assessments, including the CAAs, are not timed, and an individual student may need more or less time overall. Further, individual students will have unique needs regarding the length of a test session.

Smarter Balanced recommends the CAT portion of the Smarter Balanced ELA and mathematics assessments be administered in two sessions each.

Note: A test session does not need to end when a segment ends.

SSID An SSID is a unique, non-personally identifiable number linked to a given individual student within the California public kindergarten through grade twelve educational system. SSIDs are used to maintain data on individual students, such as linking students to statewide assessment scores and tracking students in and out of schools and LEAs to determine more accurate dropout and graduation rates.
Stimulus/Stimuli A stimulus (plural, stimuli) is material or materials used in the test context that forms the basis for students to answer connected test items. Many items or tasks for the assessments include a stimulus along with a set of questions to which the student responds. Stimulus materials are used in ELA and mathematics assessments to provide context for assessing students’ knowledge and skills. Examples of stimuli include: traditional reading passages or texts viewed on a computer screen; images with audio presentations for students to listen to; simulated web pages for students to use for research or scenarios; and charts and graphs for mathematics items.
Test administrator A CAASPP test administrator is an employee or contractor of an LEA or of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school responsible for administering summative assessments in a secure manner in compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in this manual. Test administrators are required to have submitted an electronically signed CAASPP Test Security Affidavit in TOMS.
Test examiner A CAASPP test examiner is a credentialed or licensed LEA or school employee responsible for administering alternate summative assessments in a secure manner in compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in this manual and the secure CAA DFA. Test examiners are required to have submitted an electronically signed CAASPP Test Security Affidavit in TOMS.
TOMS

TOMS is the management system used for the CAASPP and ELPAC assessments. This is the system through which users interact with and inform the TDS. This management system provides administrators with the tools to add and manage users and students participating in the CAASPP and ELPAC assessments, including assigning tests, student test settings, and user roles. This system uses a role-specific design to restrict access to certain tools and applications based on the user’s designated role.

The CAASPP and ELPAC TOMS User Guide is available on the TOMS web page on the CAASPP website.

Tools for Teachers Only This user role is for LEA or school personnel allowed access to the Smarter Balanced Tools for Teachers resource. This role is assigned to users who are not eligible for any other user role but need access to Tools for Teachers.
Universal tool

A universal tool is an online resource that is available to all students during testing based on student preference and selection.

Refer to the following resources for additional information:

Unlisted resource

An unlisted resource is an instructional resource that a student regularly uses in daily instruction, assessment, or both that has not been previously identified as a universal tool, designated support, or accommodation. The California Assessment Accessibility Resources Matrix includes a list of unlisted resources that have already been identified and are preapproved.

Unlisted resources shall be made available if specified in the eligible student’s IEP or Section 504 plan and only on approval by the California Department of Education. An LEA CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator can request one of the preapproved unlisted resources for a student in TOMS.