State Testing 2015 Starts Week of April 27

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On April 27 we will begin our State testing after a year’s hiatus since the state of California has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  These tests have been called various names, however the official name is the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) – because we never met an acronym we didn’t like!  Below you will find the schedule for testing, the amount of time estimated for each grade level, and the subjects that will be tested.  Finally, I’ve shared the Camarena philosophy of assessment to set the proper tone.

We will begin with 3rd grade during the week of April 27 through May 1 and we will test one grade level at a time.  The amount of time for each test is an estimate as these are NOT timed tests, so students can take as long as they need, however they need to finish each portion of the test on the day they begin that portion.


Grade Level

English Language Arts


April 27 – May 1

3rd Grade

4 hours

3 hours

May 4 – May 8

4th Grade

4 hours

3 hours

May 11 – May 15

*5th Grade

4 hours

3 hours

May 18 – 22

6th Grade

4 hours

3.5 hours

*5th Grade also takes Science California Standards Test (CST) on May 7

Adaptive Testing

There is one unique feature of the CAASPP tests that our students have never experienced.  These tests are adaptive, which means, that as students answer questions the tests will get easier or harder depending on whether they get the answers correct or incorrect.  This will mean that students  who struggle, will find that the test will get easier and students who do well will find that the tests get progressively more challenging.  This is certainly an improvement from the one size fits all approach in years past.


Assessment is a natural and important part of any educational setting.  Our philosophy is that this testing should not be approached as more significant than any other day for our students.  We expect students to bring their best thinking to school every day and testing should be no different.  There should be NO PRESSURE placed on students to perform at a certain level.  The effort  they have extended since July  and the instruction that we have carefully designed has prepared them to show what they know on these assessments and that is all we can ask.  Therefore, we will learn from how our students perform this year in order to improve our practices and strategies in the coming years.  Please contact your teacher or administration directly if you have any questions about the testing at the end of this school year.  Thanks for your partnership in creating the best possible testing environment – and indeed – the best possible learning environment all year long.

Math Textbook Adoption Input

For the 2015-16 school year, the Chula Vista Elementary School District will be choosing a new textbook adoption for mathematics.  Teachers and administrators are currently reviewing the options and parents are encouraged to review and comment on this choice.  Here is the criteria that we are using to determine which textbook option will provide the best support for our students. CVESD Math Textbook Selection Criteria-1

Here are links to the various textbook companies for you to review.  We welcome your input and encourage you to share your top choices in the survey at the bottom of this post.


HM Go Math

HM Math Expressions

McGraw Hill My Math

Pearson’s Envision

We have samples of 4 of these 5 offerings available to preview in our Library Media Center. All parents are welcome to take a look and provide input and suggestions.

Report Cards Explanation

Teachers will be sending home report cards on Wednesday and here are a few things that are important to know about these NEW report cards.


The purpose of the report cards is to provide a written record of your child’s progress towards grade level standards.  Our goal is to make sure you get a clear picture of strengths and areas of need to encourage and support continuous learning.

Marking Categories

Your child will receive marking in several areas that are pertinent to their learning.


C = Consistently Demonstrates

U = Usually Demonstrates

I = Inconsistently Demonstrates


Teachers will mark only those areas where they have both taught and assessed the specific standards, so you will not see marks on every area of the report card.  For those that you do see marks, here are the definitions.

1 – Minimal Mastery of Standards

2 – Progressing Toward Mastery of Standards

3 – Proficient Mastery of Standards

4 – Exceeds Mastery of Standards

NA – Not Assessed

Blank  – Not taught this quarter

Mastery is based on the assessments and observations at this point in time.  Grades can either go up or down later in the year depending on the student’s response to instruction and subsequent performance.


You will receive comments that focus on your child’s strengths and  areas where they need to give attention.   The purpose of these comments is to validate strengths and provide some suggestions for parents to support learning at home.

English Learner ELD Report Card

Students who are designated as English Learners will receive additional information through an ELD report card.  The attached brochure explains how that addendum will be marked.

ELD Report Card Brochure

ELD Report Card Brochure

In summary, our purpose is to provide clear and explicit communication between the classroom teacher and parent to benefit the learning journey of every child.  That communication should be two-way, so please don’t hesitate to contact your classroom teacher if you have any questions or concerns.

Incoming Kinder Packets are Ready for Pick-up

Our fabulous kindergarten teachers prepared a special packet for incoming 2014-2015 kindergarten students (English classrooms only).  The packet includes several worksheets and a CD so you can work with your son/daughter at home during the summer.  This material will be a great foundation for our new students!
Our school will close for the summer but will remain open until June 18, 2014.  Please stop by the office Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM. to pick up your packet prior to June the 18th.
Thank you and welcome to Camarena!


Testing Season Overview

I am providing a detailed explanation of the testing that students will face over the next 8 weeks and include the purpose and nature of those assessments so that parents and students alike have a complete picture of what’s in store.  You should contact your child’s teacher for the specific grade level testing calendar and any personalized instructional goals for your child. Let’s get started:


What:  California Standards Test (CST) Science

Who: Grade 5

When: May 9

Details: This is the only CST test that students will take as the remainder of the tests are based on the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  This is  for grade 5 only and covers Science standards from grades 4 and 5.


What: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Field Test

Who: Grades 3-6


Grade 6 begins April 14

Grade 5 begins April 21

Grade 4 begins April 28

Grade 3 begins May 5

Details: The SBAC Field Test is based on the CCSS.  The Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) and the State of California have adopted and implemented the CCSS this school year.  Since this assessment is a field test, neither the school nor the families will receive any of these results.  The purpose of this assessment is to gauge the effectiveness and validity of the tool and help SBAC create a better test for the 2014-15 school year.


What: Local Measures Reading

Who: Kinder – 6th

When: Varies per grade level beginning week of April 14

Details: The purpose of this test is to determine if our students are reading “at grade level” according to the criteria of the CCSS.    In Kinder and 1st grade students will read a text for accuracy and comprehension (fluency in 1st).  In grades 2-6, students will take an online assessment to determine their readability level (Lexile).  This Lexile system is the metric that the CCSS has selected to guide districts, schools, and students in monitoring student growth in the area of text complexity.  Students who take this assessment (grades 2-6) will receive a number that places them either “below”, “at”, or “below” grade level according to the CCSS guidelines.   The results of this  assessment will be included on your child’s report card.


What: Local Measures Writing

Who: Kinder – 6th

When: Varies by grade level beginning April 21

Details: Every student will write a narrative, expository, or opinion piece in which they cite evidence from a video and short texts.  Students will be given time to discuss the texts and video in their class before writing.  This will mirror the actual work of writers who gather their information before composing.  Students are graded based on a four point rubric with 3 being proficient.   The results of this  assessment will be included on your child’s report card.


What: Local Measures Math

Who: Kinder – 6th

When: Varies by grade level beginning May 5

Details: The Local  Measures Math assessment is a cumulative test of the key math concepts taught throughout the year.  Every student will take this assessment as an indicator of their mastery of the grade level  math content.  The questions are open-ended so that students need to show the process they used to solve the problems.  The results of this  assessment will be included on your child’s report card.


What: Math Performance Task

Who: Kinder – 6th

When: Varies by grade level beginning May 5

Details: The Math Performance Task is a detailed math problem that will challenge students to use all of the math problem solving skills they have been practicing this year.  It is guaranteed to be a multi-step problem and involves tasks that test the ability of students to read a problem carefully and craft a thorough and thoughtful plan to reach the best possible solution.  The results of this  assessment will be included on your child’s report card.


What Can Parents do to Support Students?

The cumulative efforts of students, staff, and parents since July have prepared our students  to demonstrate their best work and they should face all of these measures with confidence. If you would like to review content or skills with your child, contact the teacher for the personalized plan the best suits his or her learning profile.  Otherwise, continue to provide a quite, consistent place to study, ample rest each day, and hearty and healthy meals as always.

These assessments are a snapshot of your child’s ability at this time and the information we gather will help us determine what they have mastered to this point and what we need to focus on in the year ahead.

In conclusion, assessment plays a crucial role in determining the progress that each student, class, and the entire school is making from year to year and we will carefully analyze all of this data on an individual and organizational basis to constantly improve our service to your children.  If you would like to discuss any of these with your teacher or myself don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience.