Ventura High School undergoes CAASPP testing

CAASPP testing has required Ventura High School to begin using block schedule so that class periods are long enough to take the test. Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

CAASPP testing has required Ventura High School to begin using block schedule so that class periods are long enough to take the test. Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

Alejandro Hernandez

What is CAASPP testing?

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), is a system of exams that test students’ academic abilities. It will be taken by Ventura High School juniors between May 16 and June 2. 

CAASPP testing is made up of several components. The required tests for the majority of students are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, the California Science Test (CAST).

VHS Assistant Principal Mera Clobes said, “At Ventura High School, it is eleventh graders that take the English language arts and the math portion of the test. They also take the California Science Test which is known as the CAST. Any students that were eleventh graders but didn’t take the CAST are given another chance to take the CAST as seniors. There are some seniors for instance this year who are going to be taking the CAST.”

California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for English, science and math are given to students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to take the standard tests. There is also an optional California Spanish Assessment (CSA), which measures Spanish-language skills.

Clobes said, “What [the CAASPP testing block schedule] affects is our eleventh graders in their social studies class which is U.S. history or AP U.S. history. They take it in only that class. The first week of the testing block schedule they will be taking the English language arts portion. Then the next week they will be taking math. The third week they will be taking science. If you don’t have a history class I know who you are and I will be giving you a call slip to go to a history class in order to take [the CAASPP test]. They´ll just be a call out for those students.”

According to the California Department of Education’s California School Dashboard, English learners and those with disabilities are the student groups at greatest risk of being behind in CAASPP academic standards. Graphic by: Alejandro Hernandez

CAASPP testing results are used as metrics for a school’s collective academic performance. Scores are calculated relative to a school’s prior test performance. For example, in 2019 VHS received a high performance score in English language arts because the school increased 40.6 points compared to 2018 CAASPP scores.

VHS has no CAASPP result data since 2019, as the 2020 CAASPP test was canceled. The 2021 tests were administered online but their results were not published by the California Department of Education (CDE). 

CAASPP test results are displayed in different colors. These are red, orange, yellow, green and blue (from lowest to highest score). Students are allowed to opt out of the test as long as their parents consent (if they’re younger than 18 years old).

According to the CDE’s California School Dashboard, VHS received a blue rating in 2019 for high English language arts scores (32.3 above the CAASPP standard). VHS also received a green rating in math (46.5 points below standard with a 37.4 point increase from 2018). The California School Dashboard does not provide data for CAST results.

Junior Mateo Navarro said, “I think that CAASPP testing is necessary for state records of how our kids are doing for standardized curriculum, but that doesn’t stop me from being completely bored and very very tired, especially after two weeks of AP testing.”