Questions and Answers for Parents and Guardians


Why are summative assessments important?

  • Summative assessments are critical, now more than ever, to providing administrators and teachers with high-quality student and school achievement data to track potential learning loss in order to inform teaching and learning.
  • Statewide summative assessments are an essential component of an equitable, valid, and balanced assessment system, especially amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. They help provide actionable data for improvements and targeting supports to students most in need.
  • Statewide summative assessments shed light on the progress of students who are disproportionately impacted by school closures, including those who are English learners, minorities, and low income, and students with disabilities.
  • Statewide summative assessments are required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to help provide a uniform measure of student achievement.

How will the results of a shortened test affect school or district funding?

The shortened test will not affect school or district funding.

Has my child learned this material well enough to be tested on it?

This assessment will allow teachers and administrators to get a sense of where students are at the end of the 2020–21 school year.

Is this an open-book test?

This is not an open-book test. Your child should not have any unauthorized material out during testing.

How does my child contact the teacher while testing?

Your child will have access to a "raise your hand" tool in the testing browser. They will also have the ability to send a message via chat (by typing a comment into the chat box) to their teacher. If your child has lost connection with the testing service, they should contact the teacher by email, phone, or some other prearranged means.

Who can I call if my child has trouble logging on to the test or if my child has technical problems during testing?

Your school or district should provide information about who to call for technical assistance.

Can students use their own devices at home?

Students may use personal devices with the exception of personal Chromebooks. Devices must have a working camera, a microphone, and a set of headphones or a speaker.


What happens if I walk into the room while my child is testing?

This is not an issue. You may walk into the room when your child is testing, but you should not interrupt your child or look at the test questions being asked.

What happens if I observe someone in my house helping my child take the test?

If you observe someone helping your child with test taking, you should stop the assistance, ask your child to pause the test, and notify the teacher immediately.

Can a parent or guardian act as a test administrator or examiner (or second scorer or test examiner aide) in place of the teacher?

No. State regulations declare that parents and guardians cannot be involved with testing.

Is my child allowed to use the bathroom while testing?

Yes. Your child is allowed a bathroom break. Your child should notify the teacher before leaving the computer for any reason.

Can my child eat while testing?

Yes. Your child may eat while testing as long as it does not interfere with the child's concentration.

Can my child listen to music while testing?

No. We ask that your child not have any other technology present during testing. This includes listening to music.

Can I view my child's answers to particular questions? Or at least which questions they missed?

No. Test questions are not released to ensure test security. Specific information about questions missed or incorrect answers will not be provided.

Can my child's Smarter Balanced English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics scores be sent to the California State University (CSU) for placement purposes?

Yes. The CSU will continue to use these results to help determine students' placement in English and mathematics courses. For additional information on the variety of CSU multiple measures pathways, please visit the CSU's Multiple Measures web page.

Do the practice tests match the summative assessments in length, difficulty, or functionality? What about the training tests?

  • The practice tests match the summative assessments in length. They can be used to help assess some of the standards and your child's understanding of certain concepts.
  • The training tests are designed to assist your child in becoming familiar with the available tools and how to take the assessment. They provide functions similar to the summative assessments, but they do not match the actual assessments in length or difficulty.