Identifying Testing Improprieties, Irregularities, and Breaches

Test security incidents, such as improprieties, irregularities, and breaches, are behaviors prohibited either because they give a student an unfair advantage, compromising the validity of inferences from student test results, or because they compromise the secure administration of the assessments. Whether intentional or by accident, failure to comply with security and administration rules, either by staff or students, constitutes a test security incident. Improprieties, irregularities, and breaches need to be reported in accordance with the instructions in this section for each severity level.

Some incidents may require that an Appeal be submitted to reset, reopen, restore (if a test had been reset in error), provide a grace period extension, or invalidate a test. LEA CAASPP coordinators or CAASPP test site coordinators can make the determination by reporting the incident using the online CAASPP STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS.

After a user has submitted the details of the incident, TOMS will prompt the filing of an Appeal during the STAIRS/Appeal process, if that is the appropriate action. A system email will be sent confirming the incident that was submitted and indicating whether any action is needed.

Impact and Definitions

Definitions for test security incidents that can occur during administration of the summative assessments are provided in table 1. Incidents should be logged using the STAIRS/Appeals process described in the CAASPP and ELPAC Security Incidents and Appeals Procedure Guide.

Table 1. Definitions for Test Security Incidents

Incident Definition Example

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

The CAASPP test site coordinator can report an impropriety to the LEA CAASPP coordinator, who can assist with mitigation as necessary. The test site coordinator or LEA CAASPP coordinator will report the incident within 24 hours using the STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS.

Student(s) were making distracting gestures or sounds or talking during the test session that creates a disruption in the test session for other students, or a student or students left the test room without authorization.

An irregularity is an unusual circumstance that impacts an individual or group of students who are testing and may potentially affect student performance on the test or impact test security or test validity. These circumstances can be corrected and contained at the local level or resolved through an Appeal, if needed.

An irregularity must be reported to the CAASPP test site coordinator. The coordinator will report the irregularity within 24 hours, using the STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS to both report the incident and file the Appeal.

Student(s) were assigned an incorrect designated support or accommodation, or student(s) cheated or provided answers to each other.

A breach is a test administration event that poses a threat to the validity of the test. Examples may include such situations as a release of secure materials or a security or system risk. These circumstances have external implications for the CDE, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or both, and may result in a decision to remove the test item(s) from the available secure bank. A breach incident must be reported to the LEA CAASPP coordinator immediately.

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; and open a STAIRS case using the online STAIRS process available in TOMS for all other breaches. In addition, the coordinator must complete the online STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS within 24 hours.

Test administrators modified student answers, or test items were shared in social media.

It is important for test administrators and test examiners to ensure that the physical conditions in the testing room meet the criteria for a secure test environment. Refer to the subsection Requirements for more detail.