State Testing Information

How to help prepare your child (and yourself!) for the test!

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, aka the CAASPP

The time is almost here for state testing! As you likely remember as a child, some of us loved this special time in school when we got to “show off” what we knew while some of us remember being “sick” for two weeks straight and trying to convince our parents to stay home. ;) A few of us may have made some pretty impressive shapes out of those bubbles and many of us were excited to hear how we’d scored. Until recently, state testing was pretty similar to what we knew as kids, but in the last couple of years it’s changed pretty significantly! We thought we’d offer you a few ways to help prepare your children (and YOU!) for the upcoming CAASPP.

Which children have to take the State Tests?

The following students will be tested:


Children in grades 3-8 and 11th will take the English Language Arts and Math tests.

5th and 8th graders will take an additional Science test.

12th graders (and some 10th and 11th graders) will take the Science test only

What does my child need to bring?

The following items are optional, but encouraged:


  • Headphones (if your child doesn't bring any, earbuds will be provided, but I'm guessing your kiddos' headphones will be more familiar and comfortable for him!)


  • A computer mouse is optional if your child can't use the touch-pad mouse on Chromebooks.


  • Water bottle with NAME WRITTEN ON IT if its a reusable one! We don't have water to provide other than water fountains.


  • NUT and PEANUT-FREE SNACK Your child will get a 10 minute break during testing and may eat this snack.


  • A book to read and/or paper/pencil to draw with while they wait for the testing session to finish

Why do my children have to take this test, especially when they are homeschooled?

Agree or not, there is some value to these standardized tests!


One advantage: Having an accurate reflection of where our students are at will help us as a school.


Another benefit: The tests are scored without the possible bias of teachers and helps us compare our school to similar schools. The value of the comparison is that we are able to see ways to improve our program!


A third value: Test taking is a skill that students will continue to use in college and the workplace.


The truth is that if we do not meet the participation and progress rates given to us from the State, there is the chance that the State will choose to no longer fund our charter. This is why we are SO grateful for your participation!

How can I help prepare my children for these tests?

There are a couple of different areas to help your child prepare for these tests:


Discussions to have with your child

Your test scores will not affect your grades.

It will take effort and will involve a lot of thinking, do your best to communicate what you know.

Take as much time as you need, don’t worry about rushing or finishing early.

We believe in you and so do your teachers at Vista Oaks.


Content and Technology Skills

Content: The test is measuring content based on the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Using curriculum or teaching strategies that are aligned with the CCSS will be the best way to prepare your children for the content of the test. However, strong instruction outside of the CCSS can still prepare your child to be able to successfully work through the content of the test.


Technology Skills: This has shown to be equally challenging to the content tested for many children.. The good news is that most of our students are more familiar with using technology than we are, so they will be ok! Here is a list of technology skills your child must have to take the test:

1. Properly login/logout of computer

2. Hold mouse appropriately

3. Move mouse on screen

4. Place cursor on specific location on screen

5. Use a mouse to perform single-click

6. Use a mouse to double-click

7. Use a mouse to right-click

8. Use mouse to drag and drop items on screen

9. Use mouse to highlight text on screen

10. Launch a program by activating an icon

11. When program is running, return to main menu

12. Exit a program

13. Can access help features

14. Open a window

15. Close a window

16. Maximize a window

17. Minimize a window

18. Use the scroll bar to move up and down on a screen

19. Use the scroll bar to move left and right on a screen

20. Scroll in multiple windows


If this list scares you, don’t worry! We have plenty of practice for them! Here is a GREAT resource for both Technology lessons as well as specific skill practice for the CAASPP: http://mrsderita.weebly.com/


Also, a great way to prepare both you and your child for the test is to take a practice test. This will help familiarize you and your child with both the content and the technology skills involved in the CAASPP. We’d strongly suggest that you sit with your child and go through a practice test together so you can see ways to help prepare him prior to the test. Modeling how you would approach questions and form your answers by “thinking out loud”, as well as discussing problem-solving strategies while you take the practice test together, will help your child better understand how to take the assessment.

http://www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks/


We want this experience to be as painless as possible for you and your children, and the best way to do that is for them to feel prepared!

What if my child struggles with test anxiety?

Vista Oaks staff works hard to create a comfortable testing environment with familiar faces including snacks and even a bubble gum buffet!

Group sizes are small.

They will have breaks.

They can usually test at the same time as their siblings.

If this is a concern, you may talk with your advisor about specific things that might help your student. We’re here for you!