Test Directions Overview

These instructions apply to administration of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA and mathematics and CAST only. Do not use these instructions for administration of the CSA or the CAAs. The DFAs for the CAAs for ELA and mathematics and the embedded performance tasks for the CAA for Science, which include directions, can be downloaded from the password-protected TOMS.

TA Tasks Before Testing

Before administering a test session, the TA should verify that the following tasks have been completed:

  • Verify the security of the testing environment prior to beginning a test session. (Refer to the subsection Security of the Test Environment.)
    • Arrange student seats so that students cannot view each other’s answers.
    • Cover or take down all displayed instructional materials (e.g., vocabulary charts, periodic tables, etc.).
    • Post “TESTING—DO NOT DISTURB” signs outside of the testing room.
  • Ensure that students do not have access to digital, electronic, or manual devices (e.g., cellphones, smart watches) during testing unless it is an approved medical support. Hang “Unauthorized Electronic Devices May Not Be Used at Any Time During the Testing Session” signs where clearly visible to students in the testing environment as a test security reminder.
  • Make sure each testing device or workstation has headphones.
  • Verify that students have access to and use of the additional required resources specific to each assessment and content area (e.g., scratch paper for all tests, headphones for ELA, graph paper for mathematics grades six and above). Refer to the subsection Additional Required Resources for a complete list.
  • Recommended: Launch secure browsers on all testing devices before students sit down to test.

To ensure that all students are tested under the same conditions, the TA should adhere strictly to the script for administering the test unless a student is assigned the non-embedded designated support for simplified test directions. The script can be found in the shaded boxes in this chapter. When asked, the TA should answer questions raised by students but should never help the class or individual students with specific test items. No test items can be read to any student for any content area, unless the student is assigned a read-aloud non-embedded designated support or accommodation as listed in the California Assessment Accessibility Resources Matrix .

If the class is resuming a test and the TA is sure that all students are able to log on without hearing the logon directions again, the TA may skip the italicized portions of the directions.

All directions that a TA needs to read to students are indicated by the word “SAY” and are in boxes so they stand out from the regular text. They should be read exactly as they are written, using a natural tone and manner (except for students assigned the simplified test directions non-embedded designated support). If the TA makes a mistake in reading a direction, the TA should stop and say, “I made a mistake. Listen again.” Then the direction should be reread.

The TA should try to maintain a natural classroom atmosphere during the test administration. Before each test begins, the TA should encourage students to do their best.