Student Assessment

The overall goal of any student assessment program is to identify what students know and how well they can apply that knowledge.

As part of the transition to the new CCSS standards, California is implementing a new testing system, called Smarter Balanced. It evaluates student achievement in a more meaningful way by leveraging technology to tailor questions to student responses.

It also measures student progress toward college-and-career readiness, enabling educators to diagnose any problems and intervene earlier.

A statewide assessment program is an integral part of the instructional process. When linked to established curriculum standards, it supplies information on the effectiveness of instructional delivery and curriculum support materials.

Assessment tied to standards also provides important information to students, families and communities about how students are progressing in their learning. It can also be used to identify and address inequalities in access to learning opportunities.

Some other statewide tests in California schools for students include:

  • Physical Fitness Testing (PFT)
    The physical fitness test (PFT) for students in California schools is the FITNESSGRAM®. Its main goal is to help students start life-long habits of regular physical activity.Students in grades five, seven and nine take the fitness test. The test has six parts that show a level of fitness that offer a degree of defense against diseases that come from inactivity. Test results help students, teachers and parents better understand a student’s fitness level.
  • California English Language Development Test (CELDT)
    Students in kindergarten through grade twelve, whose home language is not English, are required by law to take an English skills test, called the CELDT in California.This test helps schools identify students who need to improve their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. Schools also give the test each year to students who are still learning English.
  • California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)
    All high school students must pass a test, called the CAHSEE, to earn a high school diploma in California.The test was created to improve student achievement in high schools. It helps to ensure that students graduate from high school with grade level skills in reading, writing and math. Some students with disabilities do not have to pass this test.Students first take this test in grade ten and, if they do not pass it at that time, they have more chances to take the test. In grade eleven, they can take the test two times. In grade twelve, they have up to five times to take the test.

    The main purpose of the CAHSEE is to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in college or the workplace.

  • California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE)
    The CHSPE is a test for students who need to verify high school level skills. In some cases, students take the test and leave high school early to work or attend college.Those who pass the test receive a Certificate of Proficiency from the State Board of Education, which is equal by law to a California high school diploma.The test covers reading, writing and math. There is a fee to take it and it is given three times each year at many sites in California.

Take Action: For more information on student assessments and testing, visit the California Department of Education website

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