Ensuring Test Security

The security of the summative assessment and the confidentiality of student information are vital to maintaining the validity, reliability, and fairness of the results.

All test items and test materials are secure and must be appropriately handled. Secure handling protects the integrity, validity, and confidentiality of summative assessment items, prompts, and student information. Any deviation in test administration must be reported as a test security incident to ensure the validity of the summative assessment results.

Smarter Balanced and CAST materials are copyright protected. Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments and the CAST, whether online or paper–pencil, are secure materials. In addition, students are prohibited from access to unauthorized electronic devices such as cell phones and nontesting-related electronic devices that allow availability to outside information; communication among students or with other individuals outside the testing environment; or photographing or copying test content are not permitted in the testing location. Images, descriptions of the tests, and images of the testing location while tests are being administered may not be shared using cell phones or other technology.

Refer to appendix B for the process used to report test administration incidents for the Smarter Balanced and CAST paper–pencil assessments.

Establishing Appropriate Testing Conditions

CAASPP test site coordinators and test administrators will need to work together to determine the most appropriate testing option(s) and testing environment based on the number of students in each testing grade and the estimated time needed to complete each test. Testing students in classroom-sized groups is preferable. Establishing classroom-sized groups reduces test fear and anxiety for the students and facilitates monitoring and control for the test administrators.

The test administration should be conducted in a secure environment. Establish procedures to maintain a quiet testing environment throughout the test session, recognizing that some students will finish more quickly than others. If students are allowed to leave the testing room upon completion, explain the procedures for leaving without disrupting others and where students are expected to report after leaving. If students are expected to remain in the testing room until the end of the session, provide instructions on what activities may be engaged in after the test is finished.

Table 1 through table 4 describe security requirements for the test environment during various stages of testing. The test environment refers to all aspects of the testing situation while students are testing and includes what a student can see, hear, or access (including access via technology).

Before Testing

Table 1 describes the requirements for the test environment before testing.

Table 1. Requirements of the Test Environment Before Testing

Requirement Description
Instructional materials removed or covered Instructional materials must be removed or covered, including but not limited to information that might assist students in answering questions that is displayed on bulletin boards, chalkboards or dry-erase boards, or on charts (e.g., wall charts that contain literary definitions, maps, mathematics formulas, etc.).
Student seating Students must be seated to minimize opportunities to look at each other’s work—for example, students may be assigned staggered seating or be seated in every other chair or workstation position—or they should be provided with table-top partitions. Student seating should consider county health directives and suggestions from the Suggested Guidelines for Physically Distancing Test Administration.

Place a “TESTING—DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door or post signs in halls and entrances rerouting hallway traffic to promote optimum testing conditions.

CAASPP test site coordinators or test administrators should post the “Unauthorized Electronic Devices May Not Be Used at Any Time During the Testing Session” signs so that they are clearly visible to all students. A master of this sign can be downloaded from the Manuals and Instructions web page on the CAASPP website.

Materials required for testing students Ensure that materials required for testing (refer to Preparation for the Assessment) are available for use during test sessions. Materials must be used within three weeks of the carton’s being opened.
Accessibility resources available to students Be aware of students’ needs for non-embedded accessibility resources and ensure their provisioning before testing.

During Testing

Table 2 describes the requirements for the test environment during testing.

Table 2. Requirements of the Test Environment During Testing

Requirement Description
Quiet environment Provide a quiet environment void of talking or other distractions that might interfere with a student’s ability to concentrate or might compromise the testing environment.
Student supervision

Students are actively supervised by a trained test administrator or test examiner and are prohibited from

  • viewing other students’ answers,
  • distracting or interrupting other students, and
  • accessing or using unauthorized electronic devices that allow access to outside information, communication among students or with other individuals outside the testing environment, or photographing or copying test content. This includes any device with cellular, messaging, or wireless capabilities, but is not limited to cell phones, smart watches, personal digital assistants, tablets, iPods or other mp3 devices, cameras, and electronic translation devices.
Access to allowable resources only Students must only have access to and use of those allowable resources (refer to the Establishing Appropriate Testing Conditions subtopic in the CAASPP Online Test Administration Manual for examples) that are permitted for each specific test (or portion of a test). This includes access to medical supports and devices that may be integrated into other technology devices (refer to the Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines for information about student use of medical supports during testing). Use of such devices may require additional monitoring or a separate test setting to maintain test security.
Access to assessments Unauthorized staff or other adults—including students’ parents or guardians—must not be in the room during testing. Only students who are testing can view test items. Students who are not being tested may not be in the room where a test is being administered and must not have access to secure testing materials including test items. Based on the item type (i.e., PTs), trained test administrators may also have limited exposure to items in the course of properly administering the assessments; however, even test administrators and other trained staff must not actively review or analyze any test items.
No answer key development No form or type of answer key may be developed for test items.

During and After Testing

Table 3 describes test environment requirements that apply both during and after testing.

Table 3. Requirements of the Test Environment During and After Testing

Requirement Description
No access to responses LEA CAASPP coordinators, CAASPP test site coordinators, test administrators, and other staff are not permitted to review student responses in answer booklets, students’ notes on scratch paper, or assistive technology devices.
No copies of test materials No copies of the test booklets, answer booklets, test items, stimuli, reading passages, PT materials, or writing prompts may be made or otherwise retained.
No access to digital, electronic, or manual devices No digital, electronic, or manual device may be used to record or retain test booklets, test items, stimuli, reading passages, PT materials, or writing prompts. Similarly, these materials must not be discussed with or released to anyone via any media, including fax, email, text message, social media websites, etc.
No retaining, discussing, or releasing test materials Descriptions of test items and PTs, stimuli, test booklets, answer booklets, or writing prompts must not be retained, discussed, or released to anyone.
No reviewing, discussing, or analyzing test materials LEA CAASPP coordinators, CAASPP test site coordinators, test administrators, and other staff must not review, discuss, or analyze test booklets, test items, PTs, stimuli, answer booklets, reading passages, or writing prompts at any time, including before, during, or after testing. Student interaction with a test administrator during a test is limited to necessary communication (such as permission to leave the room). Students should be informed that they may not discuss or share test items, stimuli, reading passages, or writing prompts with anyone during or after testing.
Keeping all test materials secure at all times Test booklets, answer booklets, students’ notes or scratch paper retained for use on a subsequent PT test session, and documents with student information must be kept in a securely stored in a locked location (e.g., locked room closet or cabinet) that can be opened only with a key or keycard by staff responsible for test administration.

After Testing

Table 4 provides the test environment requirements after testing.

Table 4. Requirements of the Test Environment After Testing

Requirement Description
No test materials used for instruction Test items, stimuli, reading passages, or writing prompts must not be used for instruction.
Destroy ancillary test materials securely Used scratch paper must be collected at the end of each test session and immediately destroyed. The only exceptions are scratch paper used for PTs and the science reference tool pages if the student is testing over more than one session, which can be collected over the duration of testing but must be destroyed securely when testing has completed. Notes and other test content on assistive technology devices should be deleted.
For the CAST, ensure the student’s answer does not include a greater number of responses than the question calls for For the CAST, there are system constraints in the DEI for certain items, so they do not allow a greater number of answers to be entered. If a student entered more answers than called for in the test question, the test administrator will need to return to the student so the student can make sure that the number of answers provided is the number indicated in the question.
Collect and inventory test booklets, answer booklets, and CDs Collect all test booklets, answer booklets, and CDs used during administration of the ELA assessments. Verify that materials for each tested student are collected. Secure these materials in a locked room or locked cabinet that can be opened only with a key or keycard by staff responsible for test administration. This includes materials to be used for subsequent test sessions or to prepare for return to the service provider for processing and scoring.
Return materials securely Return materials according to the instructions in the Smarter Balanced Materials Return Instructions or the CAST Materials Return Instructions documents.
Maintain security while entering student results into the DEI LEA staff entering student results into the DEI should be in a private location, away from students. Staff entering information must have submitted an electronically signed Test Security Affidavit in TOMS and must have either a Test Administrator or Test Examiner user role in the online California Assessment Systems.

Secure Handling of Printed Materials

All test materials must remain secure at all times. When materials are not in use for testing, they must be retained securely in a locked area that can be opened only with a key or keycard by trained staff responsible for the test administration. Test booklets, answer booklets, and ELA CDs must be collected and inventoried at the end of each test session. Used scratch paper must be immediately destroyed securely after each test session and may not be retained and used for future test sessions except as noted for PTs. Science reference tool pages must be collected and destroyed after testing, as they may have been used as scratch paper by a student.

Use of Scratch Paper on PTs

  • The only exception to the requirement governing the immediate destruction of printed materials and scratch paper is when students take notes or draft responses to PTs.
  • To maintain the security of scratch paper used for notes on PTs, test administrators must direct students to write their names (or some appropriate identifying information) on their scratch paper and then collect and inventory the scratch paper at the end of each test session, as well as upon completion of the test. All scratch paper must be securely stored in between test sessions and then securely destroyed immediately upon the student’s completion of the test.