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Assessment Changes

Assessment Changes

Changes to Required State Assessments – In effect for the 2015-16 school year


Existing Statute

H.B. 15-1323 & S.B. 15-156
Starting in 2015-16

English language arts

Grades 3-11

Grades 3-9*



Grades 3-8 and three times in high school

Grades 3-9*


Once in elementary, once in middle, and once in high school

Once in elementary, once in middle and once in high school (not in 12th grade)


Social Studies Once in elementary, once in middle, and once in high school Once in elementary, once in middle, and once in high school (not in 12th grade) using a sampling approach (once every three years in each school)
10th grade assessment aligned to state academic standards and the 11th grade curriculum-based college entrance exam Not required Grade 10
Curriculum-based, achievement college entrance exam (reading, math and science, with optional writing portion) Grade 11 Grade 11

*CDE must apply to the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE) for a waiver necessary to administer English language arts and math assessments to 9th graders instead of 10th, 11th or 12th graders. Note that CDE has submitted a formal question to USDoE in this regard and anticipates a response by mid/late June.

District Assessment Policies & Practices – Changes for 2015-16 school year

District Policy on Paper and Pencil Assessments

The law requires CDE to make available paper and pencil formats for any online state test for districts that request it. In consultation with parents, each district must adopt a written policy specifying whether students will use paper and pencil to complete any portion of the statewide assessments. Districts must provide annual notification to parents of this policy. Districts will determine if paper/pencil assessments will be used and will report to CDE the number of students who use the paper/pencil format. CDE anticipates asking districts in early fall to report the number of students that have requested to use the paper/pencil format.

District Assessment Calendars

Annually, districts must distribute a calendar to parents that specifies: (1) the assessments that will be administered; (2) the estimated hours of testing and whether assessments are required by federal or state law or selected by the district; and (3) the purpose of the assessments and how the assessment results will be used.

District Policy for Excusing Students from Assessments

Each district must adopt a written policy and procedure allowing a student’s parent to excuse a student from participating in one or more state assessments. If a parent excuses his/her student from participating in an assessment, the district must not impose negative consequences on students or parents, including prohibiting school attendance, imposing an unexcused absence, or prohibiting participation in extracurricular activities. At the same time, the district cannot impose an unreasonable burden or requirement on a student to discourage the student from taking an assessment or encourage the student’s parent to excuse his/her student from the assessment.

For more information please contact Joyce Zurkowski.

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