An Appeal is an action that changes the state of an online assessment or score so that testing and scoring are completed in a fair and valid manner. A user can file an Appeal when prompted during submission of a case in STAIRS . The step-by-step processes for submitting a STAIRS case in TOMS are described in the STAIRS/Appeals ➔ New STAIRS topic of the CAASPP and ELPAC TOMS User Guide.
In most instances, an Appeal must be submitted to address a test security breach or irregularity. In some cases, an Appeal must be submitted to address incidents that are not security related, such as reopening an assessment for a student who becomes ill and is unable to resume testing until after the student’s initial test has expired or for a student who accidentally submitted a test prior to completion.
Appeals are either approved or denied within four days of submittal.
Note the following additional details about Appeals:
- Certain Appeals for the Summative ELPAC and the Initial ELPAC also require an irregularity notation to be included in reports related to STAIRS, in the STAIRS user interface in TOMS, and in the [Score Status] tab of the Student Profile. The irregularity notation is included at the domain level or test level for the ELPAC only.
- For security incidents related to the CAASPP that result in a need to invalidate individual student summative assessments or to grant a grace period extension, or to restore a test that was reset previously as a result of a Reset Appeal submitted in error, the request must be approved by the CDE. The LEA CAASPP coordinator must contact CalTAC to submit a Restore Appeal on behalf of the LEA.
- In the event of restoring an ELPAC domain assessment that was inadvertently or inappropriately reset because of a Reset Appeal submitted earlier, to remove an irregularity flag submitted in error, or to report a testing incident that is not listed in the list of testing issues for the ELPAC, the LEA ELPAC coordinator must contact CalTAC to submit a STAIRS case on behalf of the LEA. T he request must be approved by the CDE.
When to Submit an Appeal
An Appeal must be filed before the end of the testing window. Once the testing window closes, students cannot resume testing. Hence, the LEA should ensure that, after the approval of an Appeal, all actions are completed prior to the end of the testing window.
An Appeal may delay a student’s receipt of an SSR.
How to Submit a STAIRS Case for an Appeal
LEA ELPAC coordinators, LEA CAASPP coordinators, CAASPP test site coordinators, or site ELPAC coordinators should take the following steps to file an Appeal:
- Document and submit an irregularity or test security incident by submitting a STAIRS case in TOMS. Users will be prompted for information. The screen includes the option to manually enter or securely upload a spreadsheet containing the SSIDs of the students involved in the irregularity. Do not include student names, only SSID numbers. (The step-by-step processes for submitting a STAIRS case in TOMS are described in the STAIRS/Appeals ➔ New STAIRS topic of the CAASPP and ELPAC TOMS User Guide.)
- If the case is eligible for an Appeal, the system will prompt the user to file an Appeal. If the case is not eligible for an Appeal, the system will notify the user. For guidance on timing the filing of an Appeal, refer to the subsection Cautions When Using the STAIRS/Appeals Process.
- The Appeal will be processed within four business days of its receipt; coordinators will receive notification from TOMS when a decision has been made.
If the Appeal is denied for an administrative reason—for example, because the wrong type of Appeal was filed, such as to reset instead of reopen—the coordinator may refile.
If the Appeal is approved, note the following about the actions that can be taken:
- If the case requires a Re-open Appeal, the student(s) may resume testing. Expired tests will resume at the last unanswered item on the test (if the student went back to review prior items, for example). A Re-open Appeal will not allow the audio stimulus for the ELPAC to be replayed because the test proceeded to the next item level and the student has not been assigned the pause or replay audio embedded designated support.
- For the CAASPP only, STAIRS will not allow an LEA to submit a Re-open Appeal for a test assigned to an SSID that has an Invalidate Appeal submitted during the current test administration year.
- If the case requires a Reset Appeal, the test is removed from the system and the student(s) start(s) a new test from the beginning. Ensure that the test assignment and test settings are accurate before allowing the student(s) to start a new test.
- For the Summative ELPAC or Initial ELPAC, if the STAIRS case does not require an Appeal for a domain exemption or incorrect alternate assessment, where the student received a domain exemption or an alternate assessment that was not prescribed by the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan, the LEA coordinator, after submitting the STAIRS incident in TOMS, must update the student’s test assignment options appropriately in TOMS.
- If the case does not require an Appeal for an incorrect SSID used where the student has completed the test and the LEA wants to associate the assessment results with the student’s correct SSID, the LEA coordinator must contact CalTAC within one business day of the incident—by phone at 800-955-2954 or email at email@example.com—to confirm details of the incorrect SSID, correct SSID, result ID, and test status information associated with this incident. The approval email received after submitting this STAIRS request instructs the LEA that further action is needed.
- A Restore Appeal is required only in the event that a test was inadvertently or inappropriately reset as result of a Reset Appeal submitted earlier. The test will resume at the last unanswered item.
- If the case requires a Grace Period Extension Appeal for a paused test, the test questions that include an audio stimulus for the ELPAC are not permitted to be replayed for a student who has not been assigned the pause or replay audio embedded designated support and had navigated away from the audio stimulus at the time the test was paused.
- For the CAASPP, a student may not return to a previous segment once it has been completed and submitted.
- For the Initial ELPAC, if the case requires a Rescore Appeal, the scores for the Writing domain for online tests for the Initial ELPAC for grades three through twelve are removed from the THSS and the test examiner will have to reenter all the scores from the beginning.
- If the case requires an Invalidate Appeal, the student(s) will be prohibited from continuing the test, the score(s) will be invalidated and the invalidated score(s) will be reported with a text notation on the SSR(s). The calculation of the school’s participation rate will count the student(s) as having participated.
- For the ELPAC, if a test requires student’s(s’) scores or test item responses to be entered in the DEI and if the LEA submitted a STAIRS case for a testing incident other than the DEI testing incident, the Appeal to reset or reopen the test will apply to the student’s(s’) test(s) as well as the scores or test item responses that were entered in the DEI.
- For the CAA for ELA, if a test requires second-scored item responses to be entered into the DEI and if the LEA submitted a STAIRS case for a testing incident other than the DEI testing incident, the Appeal to reset or reopen the test will apply to the student’s(s’) test(s) as well as the scores or test item responses that were entered into the DEI.
- A STAIRS case can be partially withdrawn.
- The LEA can withdraw an individual STAIRS case at the SSID level. The partial withdrawal allows the LEA to remove only individual SSID(s) from that STAIRS case.
- In the event the STAIRS case resulted in an Appeal, the withdrawn Appeal(s) can be viewed under the [Search Appeals] action tab at the individual SSID level.
- The option to withdraw a STAIRS case is applicable only after the STAIRS case is submitted and if it is yet to be processed by the approver.
- A STAIRS case can be both partially approved and partially rejected.
- The CDE and CalTAC can approve or reject Appeals for selected SSID(s) for a single STAIRS case.
- Rejected or approved Appeals can be viewed by the individual SSID under the [Search Appeals] action tab.
Reasons for Rejection
An Appeal request may be denied if it does not fit the requirements of the types of Appeals (Reset, Re-open, Restore, Grace Period Extension, Rescore or Invalidate) described in this manual.