California State Testing- Preparing to Do Your Best

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IEEE USA InSight

This year, state testing is all online. Students are required to take the test using a school-owned computer, which helps minimize any chances of cheating.

Katie Arnoult, Editor

When a student hears the words “state testing,” stress and apprehension may arise. However, simple steps and tips can help prepare you to do your best during testing.

CAASPP stands for California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, which is the exam that students take for state testing. Students take state tests from third to eighth grade and eleventh grade. Fortunately for students, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not done state testing for the past two school years. For McAuliffe Eagles taking math, this will be their first time state testing in middle school.

Mr. Pagett, a science and P.E. teacher at McAuliffe, opinionates that “it was good that we did not do [testing]” during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school year, because “those last two years were really chalked up and messy. We didn’t get through all of our material that we were supposed to teach as teachers, so I don’t think it was fair to the students when we weren’t getting through everything.”

McAuliffe’s testing period this year lasts three weeks in the month of May. From May 2 to 6 is eighth-grade science testing only. May 9 to 13 is all grades’ ELA test. All grades take their math test from May 16 to 20.

Many wonder what the purpose of this yearly nuisance is; state testing allows for education authorities to check the learning progress of students, and to make sure that educators are teaching the curriculum correctly. A bonus for students: during the testing period, teachers are not allowed to assign homework, tests or projects.

Strict testing rules also prohibit any unauthorized devices such as personal computers, smartwatches or phones during testing, and they require students to use computers owned by the school. Teachers must cover up any posters, student work and anything else in their classroom that may give away information to students, allowing them to cheat. 

There are many things students can do to prepare themselves for state testing; two examples are getting a good night’s sleep the day before and eating a healthy breakfast the morning of. Another tip: if you feel confused about a question, skip it and return to it later. Remember to take your time and go at your own pace. Additionally, read the question and directions very carefully- if the question asks for two answers instead of one, select two! Finally, there is no need to stress, because state testing does not affect students’ grades.

Pagett also encourages students to write using correct grammar and complete sentences if the question asks for a typed answer. “Not using pronouns, restating the topic of the question and writing complete sentences show that you are writing [well],” he explains. “Even in math, they are going to make you write in the math one, and obviously the [ELA] one.” He adds that the science and math tests include not just selecting one answer from multiple choice questions, but also typing answers in your own words.

Although state testing can be annoying, students should still remember that it is an essential part of their school career. Taking small measures to prepare can make a big impact!

Stay tuned for a Part 2 of this article!