Administer an Online Test Session

Each assessment is displayed in the Test Administrator Interface using a differently colored background. The appearance changes slightly to highlight when a list item receives focus, as presented in the following lists.

Online Assessments:

  • Red—Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
  • Indigo—California Alternate Assessments (CAA)
  • Brown—California Science Test (CAST)
  • Green—Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments
  • Mint—California Spanish Assessment (CSA)

Online Practice and Training Tests:

  • Golden Yellow—Smarter Balanced training tests
  • Pink—Smarter Balanced practice tests
  • Golden Yellow—CAAs for ELA, mathematics, and science training tests
  • Pink—CAAs for ELA, mathematics, and science practice tests
  • Golden Yellow—CAST training tests
  • Pink—CAST practice tests
  • Golden Yellow—CSA training tests
  • Pink—CSA practice tests

If a test administrator has mistakenly selected and administered the summative assessment when intending to administer an interim assessment or practice or training test, the LEA CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator must report the incident using the CAASPP STAIRS/Appeals process.

Open the Test Administrator Interface and Approve Students for Testing—All Assessments

The test administrator must create a test session before students can log on to the Student Testing Site. In order for a student to take a specific test, it must be included in the test session.

This section contains information on how to start a test session, add tests to the session, verify students’ test settings, approve students for testing, and monitor their progress.

Beginning an Assessment

Follow these instructions to administer the Smarter Balanced Online Summative Assessments and the CAST unless a student is assigned the non-embedded designated support for Simplified Test Directions. The test administrator must create a test session before students can log on to the Student Testing System (but no more than 30 minutes prior or the system will time out). When a test administrator creates a test session, a unique session ID is randomly generated. This session ID must be provided to the students before they log on and should be written down.

The process for administering online tests is as follows:

  1. The test administrator selects tests and starts a test session in the Test Administrator Interface.
  2. Students sign in and request approval for tests.
  3. The test administrator reviews students’ requests and approves them for testing.
  4. Students complete and submit their tests.
  5. The test administrator stops the test session and logs off.

For information about the testing process from a student’s perspective, refer to the subsections Signing In to the Student Testing Site and Features of the Student Testing Application.

  1. Test Administrator
    Navigate to the CAASPP website on a web browser.
  2. Test Administrator
    Select the [Test Administrator Interface for All Online Tests] button, as shown in figure 1.

    Screen capture of the Test Administrator Interface for All Online Tests button

    Figure 1. [Test Administrator Interface for All Online Tests] button

  3. Test Administrator
    Log on to the Test Administrator Interface using the test administrator’s sign-in credentials, as shown in figure 2.

    Figure 2. Test Administrator Interface Logon screen

  4. Test Administrator
    If the test administrator is associated with multiple institutions, an “Important!” message appears at logon. The test administrator must select the appropriate institution from the drop-down list in this message and select the [Go] button, as shown in figure 3. The test administrator may only select one institution at a time. The test administrator will only be able to administer tests available for the selected institution. To select a different institution, the test administrator must log off and then log back on.

    Screen capture of the Select your School/District drop-down list in the Test Administrator Interface with a circle around the Go button

    Figure 3. Message from the Test Administrator Interface

  5. Test Administrator
    The Test Selection window, as shown in figure 4, color-codes tests and groups them into various categories. A test group, such as “Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments,” may include one or more subgroups. All test groups and subgroups appear collapsed by default.

    Screen capture of the Operational Test Selection window

    Figure 4. Operational Test Selection screen

  6. Test Administrator
    To select tests for the session, use one of the following on-screen icons; these are indicated in figure 5:
    1. To expand a collapsed test group, select the [Plus] plus-sign [‍Plus icon; shows a plus sign] icon.
    2. To collapse a test group, select the [Minus] minus-sign [Minus icon; shows a minus sign] icon.
    3. To expand the list of all tests, select the [Expand All] outward arrows [Expand All outward arrows icon] icon.
    4. To select individual tests, mark the checkbox for each test to be included.

    Operational Test Selection screen with the list of available items expanded and the Add Filter button, plus and minus icons, test checkbox, and Start Operational Session button indicated

    Figure 5. Expanded Operational Test Selection screen

  7. Test Administrator
    Either use the filtering feature to open specific grade-level or content-area assessments; or, to start the test, select the [Start Operational Session] button. These features are indicated in figure 5. Take the following steps to use the filtering feature:
    1. Select the [Add Filter] button [Add Filter button with three horizontal lines] (indicated in figure 5) to access the filter panel.
    2. Expand the available filter categories by selecting a [Plus] plus-sign [Plus icon; shows a plus sign] icon (indicated in figure 6).
    3. Select the criteria to filter. For example, to select all the tests in a content area, mark the checkbox for that group.
    4. Select the [Apply Filter(s)] button [Apply Filter(s) button] (indicated in figure 6).
    5. Remove the filter by selecting the [Remove Filter] “X” icon [‍Remove filter X icon.] (indicated in figure 6).
    6. Select the [Start Operational Session] button to start the test.

    Operational Test Selection screen with the list of items that can be filtered, which are Grade and Subject, and the Expand icon and Apply Filter button indicated

    Figure 6. Sample Operational Test Selection screen with filtering

  8. Test Administrator
    If the test administrator is administering a Smarter Balanced assessment, there will be a warning letting the test administrator know that a summative assessment is about to be administered. If the test administrator selects [OK], as shown in figure 7, the test administrator can either continue with the test administration or exit from the Test Administrator Interface if a summative assessment was selected unintentionally.

    Screen capture of the Summative Assessment confirmation box, with the OK button called out

    Figure 7. Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment confirmation box

  9. Test Administrator
    Inform students of the test session ID. The session ID is automatically generated upon selecting [Start Operational Session] in the previous step. Write the session ID, as shown in figure 8, on a place where all students can clearly refer to it during group administrations. The current session ID also appears on the Test Administrator Interface screen saver, when the screen saver is active.

    Top of the Test Administrator Interface with the session ID indicated

    Figure 8. Session ID at the top of the Test Administrator Interface

  10. Test Administrator
    Read the following SAY box.


    Today, you will take the [Smarter Balanced—insert grade, ELA/mathematics, and CAT/PT; or [grade five, eight, or high school] California Science Test. You will be given a test session ID that is required to start the test. Before logging on, let’s go over some test rules.

    You must answer each question on the screen before selecting NEXT. If you are unsure of an answer, provide what you think is the best answer. If you would like to review that answer at a later time, mark the question for review before going on to the next question. You may go back and change the answer during this test session.

    You may pause at any point in the test by selecting PAUSE rather than NEXT after answering a question. Please raise your hand if you need a break and ask permission before selecting PAUSE.

  11. Test Administrator
    Read the following SAY box for the CAT portion or the CAST only.


    If you pause your test for more than 20 minutes, you will not be able to go back and change your answers to any questions, even the ones you marked for review. You may check your answers to any questions before you pause your test.

  12. Test Administrator
    Read the following SAY box for the mathematics CAT in grades six through eleven, the CAST, and the ELA PT only.


    Please keep in mind that this test is divided into segments. When you get to the end of a segment, you will be told to review your answers before moving on. Once you submit your answers and move on to the next segment, you will not be able to return to any of the questions in the previous segment.

  13. Test Administrator
    Read the following SAY box to all students taking the CAST.


    There is a survey at the end of this test that will help us understand your experience with science in general. Your answers to these survey questions will not count toward your test score and are confidential, which means they will not be shared with teachers, schools, or parents or guardians.

  14. Test Administrator
    Read the following SAY box and all subsequent SAY boxes to everyone.


    Your answers need to be your own work. Please keep your eyes on your own test and remember, there should be no talking. If you have a cell phone, smartwatch, or other non-approved electronic devices, please turn off the device and put it away.

    If you finish your test early, please raise your hand and sit quietly.

  15. Test Administrator
    Logon tickets may be provided to each student. The logon tickets should provide the students’ SSID. Note that logon tickets are secure testing materials and should be securely destroyed after testing.
  16. Student
    Log on to the Student Testing Site through the secure browser.
  17. Test Administrator
    Direct students to sign in using the Student Sign In screen. It is not necessary to read the italicized sentences to students testing over multiple days who have already heard these instructions at least once.


    Now we are ready to log on. Once you have logged on, you will have to wait for me to approve the test before you start. I’ll be checking that you have correctly entered the test session ID and other information.

    Enter your legal first name, not your nickname, followed by your SSID number. Then enter the test session ID. Raise your hand if you need help typing this information on your keyboard.


    Now select SIGN IN. Once you have successfully logged on, you will see a screen with your first name and other information about you. If all of the information on your screen is correct, select YES to continue. If any of the information is incorrect, please raise your hand and show me what is incorrect.

  18. Student
    Sign in using the Student Sign In screen, as shown in figure 9.

    Screen capture of the Student Sign-In Web form, which includes fields for the student's first name, SSID, and the test session ID

    Figure 9. Student Sign In screen

  19. Test Administrator
    Ensure that all students have successfully entered their information.

  20. Student
    Verify identity by selecting [No] or [Yes], as shown in figure 10.

    Screen capture of the 'Is This You?' window in the student interface, followed by sample student information.

    Figure 10. Is This You? screen

  21. Test Administrator
    Inform students of the test type (for example, ELA CAT, mathematics PT, science) in which they are participating today.
  22. Student
    Select the test to take.
  23. Test Administrator


    On the next screen, select the [INSERT NAME OF TEST (i.e., ELA Grade 4 CAT)], and then select START TEST. After you have selected your test, you will see a screen with a moving bar and message saying that you are waiting for test administrator approval. Please wait quietly while I check and approve each of your tests.

    Only the tests that the test administrator selected for the test session for which students are eligible are selectable by students. Because students may be able to select from more than one test—for example, a PT and a CAT in both ELA and mathematics—the test administrator should direct students to select the appropriate test name based on the intended assessment (ELA, mathematics, or science) and type (CAT or PT). The test administrator should contact the CAASPP test site coordinator if unsure of the content area or assessment that is being administered.

    The sample shown in figure 11 is from the practice and training test interface and shows the available CAASPP options.

  24. Student
    Select the test to take, as shown in figure 11.

    Screen capture showing the Your Tests screen from which a student selects a test

    Figure 11. Your Tests selection screen

  25. Student
    Wait for the test administrator’s approval, as shown in figure 12.

    Waiting for approval screen on the student testing interface

    Figure 12. Waiting for Approval dialog box

  26. Test Administrator
    Approve students to test by selecting the [Approve] check mark [Check mark icon; shows a green check mark] icon in the Actions column for individual students or the [Approve All Students] button, as indicated in figure 13, for each group of tests. Select the [See Details] eye [Details icon; shows a line drawing of an eye] icon, also in figure 13, to view the student’s settings for the current test. (For example, if the student had been assigned the designated support to turn off any universal tool(s), the test administrator can toggle the universal tools on and off.) “Custom” in the See Details column indicates the student has been assigned test settings.

    If a student’s test settings are incorrect, deny the student, the test administrator should contact the LEA CAASPP coordinator or CAASPP test site coordinator to correct the test settings in TOMS, and test the student on another day. Ensuring the test settings are correct before the student begins testing is critical to avoid the need for a test reset that may result in additional testing for the student later.

    The test administrator should also ensure that students selected the correct assessment; students who are awaiting approval for an incorrect assessment should be denied approval. These students should log on again and select the correct test.

    screen capture of the Approvals and Student Test Settings screen with Approve All Students button and Details icon called out

    Figure 13. Approvals and Student Test Settings screen

  27. Test Administrator
    Have students taking an ELA assessment or using text-to-speech run the sound check. Then, have students who are using the speech-to-text resource in any assessment run a sound check.


    Next you should see a screen that prompts you to check that the sound and video on your computer are working. Put your headsets on and select the triangle PLAY button. If you hear the music and see the moving musical notes, select the [I could play the video and sound] button. If not, raise your hand.

  28. Student
    If beginning a test with listening items, complete the audio checks with headphones. Test with the listening items audio and video check, as shown in figure 14.
  29. Test Administrator

    SAY (only for students taking any assessment using the text-to-speech resource):

    Next you should see a screen that prompts you to check that the sound on your computer is working. Put your headsets on and select the icon of the speaker in the circle to hear the sound. If you hear the chime, select YES. If not, raise your hand.

  30. Student
    If beginning a test with text-to-speech, complete the audio checks with headphones. Test with text-to-speech audio check, as shown in figure 14.

    Screen capture of the Sound, Video, and Text-to-Speech Playback Check screen

    Figure 14. Sound, Video, and Text-to-Speech Playback Check screen

  31. Test Administrator
    If audio issues occur, do the following:
    • Ensure headphones are securely plugged in to the correct jack or USB port.
    • If the headphones have a volume control, ensure the volume is not muted.
    • Ensure that the audio on the device is not muted (often via a control panel or settings window).
    • If the student is still experiencing issues, contact the CAASPP test site coordinator or school technology coordinator.
  32. Test Administrator
    Tell students how to take the test.


    Before your test appears, you will see a tutorial page listing the test tools and buttons that you may use during the test or that will appear on the test. You can also find this information during your test by selecting the HELP button.

    When you are ready to begin your test, select BEGIN TEST NOW at the bottom of the page.

  33. Student
    Select [Begin Test Now], as shown in figure 15, to begin testing.

    Screen capture of the Instructions and Help screen with the Begin Test Now button indicated

    Figure 15. Instructions and Help screen

  34. Test Administrator
    Continue with the instructions in the next subsections, Monitoring Student Progress and Ending a Test Session.

Monitoring Student Progress

Test Selection

It is very important that test administrators monitor student progress throughout the test session. This includes verifying that students are participating in the appropriate content area and type of test (CAT, CAST, or PT). The test administrator monitors the test each student is taking by referring to the Tests table in the Test Administrator Interface, shown in figure 16. Note that the list of student names can be sorted by column headings.

In the event a student is taking an incorrect test, the test administrator should pause the student’s test. The test administrator should then instruct the student to log off and log on again to select the correct test. The Test column is called out in figure 16.

Test administrator interface layout with students in session with a circle around the Test column

Figure 16. Monitoring student progress in the Test Administrator Interface

In the rare event that a student starts a test unintentionally (for example, if the student selected a PT instead of a CAT, or selected mathematics instead of ELA), the test’s expiration timeline will be activated. If a student is unable to return to and complete the test before it expires in 10 days (PT) or 45 days, the CAASPP test site coordinator or LEA CAASPP coordinator must use the STAIRS/Appeals process to first, report the incident, and then, to submit an Appeal to reopen the test.

Test Security

Once students have started the Smarter Balanced assessment or CAST, the test administrator should monitor the room to ensure that all conditions of test security are maintained. If the test administrator or test examiner witnesses or suspects the possibility of a test security incident, the CAASPP test site coordinator and LEA CAASPP coordinator should be contacted immediately in accordance with the security guidance provided in this manual.

Student Directions During Testing

While the Test Administrator Interface is designed to refresh automatically every minute, the test administrator can refresh it manually at any time by selecting the [Refresh Now] button at the top right corner of the page.

If the test administrator notices that a student is off task, the test administrator may say the following statement to the student, verbatim, to keep the student focused.


It is important that you do your best. Do you need to pause the test and take a break?

If a student is concerned about an item, direct the student to review a tutorial by reading the following script verbatim.


Try your best and choose the answer that makes the most sense to you. If you are unsure about how a question works, you can review a tutorial by selecting the “i” button on the right side of the screen.

Allowing the students to practice on the training test and practice test prior to testing is strongly encouraged to ensure that students are able to manipulate each item type and use the various tools and resources during testing.

Ending a Test Session

When there are approximately 10 minutes left in the test session, the test administrator should give students a brief warning.


We are nearing the end of this test session. Please review your answers, including any questions you marked for review now. Do not submit your test unless you have answered all of the questions.

[The following should be read for the ELA CAT portion only]

If you are working on a set of questions for a reading passage, please finish all of the questions in that set.


If you need additional time let me know.

Read ONLY to Students in Grade Eleven Taking Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments:

Screen capture of the EAP question at the end of grade eleven ELA and mathematics tests

Figure 17. Sample EAP question for the CAASPP Smarter Balanced for ELA



The Early Assessment Program (EAP) will assist the California State University (CSU) system and the California Community Colleges (CCC) system in providing you information on your readiness for college-level written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning prior to starting your senior year. The results are used to determine your placement in appropriate coursework once you have been admitted. The release of CAASPP results will not affect your application for admission.

Please carefully read the statement presented as the last question in this test session. If you do not wish your results to be sent to the CSU and CCC, select “Do Not Release.” If you are considering or plan to enroll at CSU or CCC, select “Release” and then select the [Submit Test] button. Your Smarter Balanced results for this test will be provided to both institutions by selecting the Release circle and then submitting. If you do not select to release your results, you may be requested to provide a copy of your results to the institution at a later time. Even if you have already answered this question at the end of an ELA or mathematics test you have already taken, you need to answer it for this test to have the EAP results of both tests reported.

Your CAASPP Student Report will provide a website, where additional information is available on what your EAP results mean.


Continue Reading to ALL Students:

After answering the last item in each segment, each student is presented with a screen prompting the student to review answers (marked and unmarked) for all items available to the student or prior to submitting the test. Mark for Review is provided as a reminder to a student that the student had a question or concern about a particular item, but the student is permitted to review all items—marked or unmarked—within the constraints of the pause rule.

After answering the last question, students must submit their tests. If students would like to review their answers before submitting their test, they should select [REVIEW MY ANSWERS] and then [SUBMIT TEST] after they finish reviewing. Once a student selects [SUBMIT TEST], the student will not be able to review answers.


This test session is now over. If you have not finished, select PAUSE, and you will be able to finish at another session.

[For the CAT portion and CAST only if the length of time pausing the test is greater than 20 minutes, e.g., the student will continue testing on another day]


Remember, if you are not finished and need to pause your test for more than 20 minutes, you will not be able to go back to the questions from this test session, including questions marked for review. You will also not have access to the notes you entered in the Digital Notepad.


If you have answered all the questions on your test and have finished reviewing your answers, select SUBMIT TEST. I will now collect any scratch paper or other materials.

Test administrators should select [Stop Session] to end the test session and pause any student test in the session that is still in progress. When finished, test administrators can log off the Test Administrator Interface by selecting the [Logout as Name] button at the top right. Test administrators should also collect any scratch paper (and graph paper for mathematics in grades six and up).

Logging Off

Use caution when logging off the Test Administrator Interface as this will log the test administrator or test examiner off other related systems (e.g., Completion Status, Interim Assessment Hand Scoring, and TOMS). To log off the Test Administrator Interface, select the [Logout as Name] button in the top-right corner of the screen on the Test Administrator Interface system banner (shown in figure 18).

Screen capture of the Single Sign-On system banner, with the Logout as button called out

Figure 18. Single Sign-On system banner

The test administrator or test examiner’s session will be closed, and the test administrator or test examiner will be directed to the CAASPP website after logging off. The test administrator or test examiner will not be able to resume the test session.