Assessment Update Related to COVID-19 School Closures
The purpose of this communication is to inform principals that the California Department of Education (CDE) has cancelled all state summative assessments (i.e. California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress-CAASPP, inclusive of the Smarter Balanced Assessment-SBAC, California Alternate Assessment-CAA and Summative English Language Proficiency Assessments for California-ELPAC) for the 2019-20 school year. This update also includes an update on the administration of the College Board’s Advanced Placement-AP program.
Principals should be aware that the CDE has informed districts statewide that the PFT and the Initial ELPAC assessments will not be required to be administered during the period of COVID-19 related school closures. No testing is expected while schools are shut down. Once schools return, the expectation will be that students identified as requiring the Initial ELPAC will be tested. Senate Bill 117 extended the timeline to conduct the Initial ELPAC by 45 days (75 days total). The expectation is that LEAs will continue to assess new students whose primary language is not English when they return this year or next school year.
CDE is working with its assessment vendors to determine the best way to handle completed and any partially completed assessments. The CDE will contact district coordinators as those decisions are made.
Finally, the U.S. Department of Education announced a broad waiver process on March 20, 2020 that will allow states to bypass all testing requirements for the current academic year in response to state and district leaders request for increased flexibility as they face unprecedented school closures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The CDE is working with the California State Board of Education regarding this waiver authority afforded by the US Department of Education and will update us they have more information.
The College Board is also responding to the COVID-19 by offering increased flexibility for the administration of the AP program tests this spring based on its most recent update on March 20, 2020.
For the 2019–20 AP exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. The College Board is working with educator-led development committees and are currently selecting the exam questions that will be administered. Additionally, the organization has secured the support from colleges for this solution and includes a commitment to ensure that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn. Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.
The College Board is also working with partners to address the digital divide that could prevent some low-income and rural students from participating in this online option.