Student Assessments


    The CAASPP system (which recently replaced the STAR assessment system) encompasses the following required assessments:

    Smarter Balanced Assessments

    Smarter Balanced assessments consist of both performance tasks and summative assessments on the computer. All 3rd-5th grade students take the Smarter Balanced summative assessments and performance tasks in English Language Arts and Mathematics in the spring. Students receive an overall score for both ELA and math, ranging from 2000 to 3000. Overall scores will be reported within one of four levels: Standard Not Met (1), Standard Nearly Met (2), Standard Met (3), and Standard Exceeded (4). Specific scale score ranges by content areas and grade can be found at

    These reports will also highlight students’ strengths in key areas for both ELA and math. ELA results will include information about the students’ performance in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and research. Reports of math results will include information about student’s performance in problem solving, using concepts and procedures, and in communicating mathematical reasoning. The student’s performance in these key areas for each subject will be reported using the following indicators: Below Standard, At or Near Standard, and Above Standard. To learn more about the reporting, please visit:

    Smarter Balanced has a practice test in order for parents to experience the features of online testing and gain insight into how Smarter Balanced assesses students’ mastery of the Common Core. Please visit and click on Take the Practice Test to learn more.

    The summative assessment is done on the computer and it goes beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended response and technology enhanced items. The summative assessment will be administered in the spring. The summative assessment uses Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). This means that based on student responses, the computer program adjusts the difficulty of questions throughout the assessment.

    The performance tasks allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The performance tasks challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to complex real-world problems. They can best be described as collections of questions and activities that are connected to a single theme or scenario.


    Content Standards Test (CST)

    All 5th grade students, who do not qualify for the CMA or CAPA, must take the California Content Science test in the spring. Scores are reported in 5 levels of proficiency: Far Below Basic (FBB), Below Basic (BB), Basic (B), Proficient (P), and Advanced (A). In California, only Proficient and Advanced levels are considered a passing grade. Results of these tests are mailed to parents and are placed in the cumulative files. Teachers review individual and class results in order to plan effective instruction.


    Physical Fitness Test

    All 5th grade students are required to take the Physical Fitness Test called the FITNESSGRAM. This test consists of the following six fitness areas: aerobic capacity; abdominal strength and endurance; upper body strength and endurance; body composition; trunk extensor and flexibility; and flexibility. This test is conducted in the spring.

    California English Language Development Test (CELDT)

    This test assesses the listening, speaking, reading and writing development of students who speak another language in their home. During the 2017-18 school year, school districts will be transitioning to a new assessment called the English Language Proficiency for California. This new assessment will only have three levels: Emerging, Bridging and Expanding. Please visit this website to learn more:


    The Hillsborough City School District conducts its own set of tests:


    All students in K-5 are given district-mandated assessments three times a year to measure progress towards the standards. These tests are administered during a specific set of days called a screening “window”. The district literacy and math assessments were designed and/or selected by district teachers, district data advisors, and district administrators to address the specific skills that we want to assess. These assessments are consistent district-wide, and are used throughout the year for diagnostic purposes to allow teachers to identify individual strengths and weaknesses. They provide immediate feedback on student progress toward meeting the end-of-the-year grade level standards, which helps shape subsequent instruction.




    In addition to the district-wide assessments, a student’s progress is measured in a variety of ways on a continuing basis as part of regular classroom instruction. This can take many forms such as end of unit tests, special projects, presentations, collaborative work, writing, process observation, and direct questioning. North School also has additional assessments that we use on a regular basis to gather data about student progress such as the Development Reading Assessment (DRA) and other literacy measures.


    Conferences allow parents and teachers to work together to shape the educational focus for a child. We urge parents to make conferences a high priority and encourage both parents to attend. Conferences are held several weeks before report cards, rather than after, so that progress along the way can be measured, and “adjustments” can be made before the end of the trimester. Both the Student Profile Sheet and the PEP are integral parts of the first conference of the year. The Student Profile sheet helps provide information for setting the PEP goals, and a summary of the goals is provided to parents along with information from the student data sheet. Parents may request updated PEPs or Student Profile Sheets throughout the year when goals have been completed or new goals are set. Although there are only two formal conference times during the year, communication between teachers and parents should take place when needed and parents may request conferences with teachers at any time during the school year. Please note: All children will attend school on a minimum-day schedule for the entire week.

    Student Profile Sheet

    This document is designed to give teachers and parents a quick look at all state and district assessment data available on a student for a given year. It includes district math and literacy assessments for grades K-5 and writing sample results for grades 2-5. Teachers will review the Student Profile sheets with parents at conference time, and information will be updated after each new set of assessments is added.

    Personalized Education Plan (PEP)

    A Personalized Education Plan (PEP) contains annual goals set for individual students based on data, observation, and need. The PEP goals can be academic or social/emotional, and are created by teachers in conjunction with parents and often the students themselves. These goals are concrete, have clearly stated outcomes, and have a timeline for completion. Students, teachers, and parents all have a role in ensuring the accomplishment of the goals. As goals are met, new ones can be established. A summary of the PEP goals and plans will be shared with parents and students after the initial conference.


    North is arranged on a trimester schedule. Report cards are issued shortly after the completion of each trimester.Please see the school calendar for the dates of the end of each trimester. The primary purpose of the report card is to communicate student progress toward academic and social goals and standards. The specific parts of the report card are listed below.

    Essential Outcomes

    The District’s Essential Outcomes are a very important part of the HCSD educational system. It is our strong belief that although high academic achievement is our first and foremost goal, it is not the only goal. It is imperative that our students also become people of good character, innovators and problem solvers, effective communicators, global citizens, lifelong learners, and effective users of technology. The Essential Outcomes are on the report card so that we can formally address these goals, and engage students, parents and teachers in a dialogue about the best way to work together to accomplish them. The scores indicate to what degree the student is exhibiting the characteristics described.


    Work Habits, Study Skills, and Behavior

    How a student approaches his or her work often has a great impact on the ability to master the content. This section breaks the requisite skills for learning into three components: classwork, homework, and behavior. Each of those sections is broken down further into groups of related skills or behaviors.This allows the teacher to more specifically let the student and parent know to what degree the student is applying those skills that help facilitate learning.

    Measuring Progress

    California has a very rigorous set of academic standards, and our report cards are tied directly to them. Each trimester students are evaluated on their progress toward meeting the standards that have been taught during that particular time period. If a student has met the district’s expectations for that trimester regarding a specific standard, he or she will receive a “3” which means he or she is meeting district expectations. Meeting expectations indicates that a student knows and is correctly able to apply the standard to a high degree that is appropriate to the grade and the time of year; it does not indicate minimum competency. The bar is high, not low. The majority of students should receive a “3” on most standards, since our students work hard with their teachers and parents to be successful. Meeting the standards is the expectation at the end of the school year for all students.

    A student will be given a “2” if he or she is approaching the expected level, but not quite there. A “2” indicates that the student is clearly working on the standard, but still needs to improve either the depth or consistency of their performance, or falls slightly below the expectation for the class and needs some guidance to achieve success. In a few cases a student will be given a “1” if their performance or understanding is lagging well below the expected level.

    The “4” for exceeds district expectations does not apply to all standards, since most are clear cut and are either met or not met, and it is reserved for when studentperformance goes beyond what is usual and expected in a very noticeable way. It often reflects a level of understanding that is more complex than the expectation for the grade, combined with a proactive investigation of the subject. It is not meant to be applied just for high scores alone, because that is the standard expectation in this district.


    Effort Rating

    The law requires that a grade or rating that indicates a student has met the required standards be based solely on the demonstration of content knowledge and the application of skills, not on the effort that was shown or not shown. In other words, while effort can impact what is learned, it cannot be factored into the question about whether or not a student actually meets the standard. For that reason we have added a way to indicate the level of effort in order to give a more complete picture. Most students work hard most of the time and learn the material as expected. Therefore a typical student might receive a “3” in meeting academic standards and a “3” in effort (both indicate meeting our high expectations). However, it is entirely possible that a student could work very hard, do extra work, and still not master the skills. In that case the student might receive a “2” in academic standards, since expectations have not been met for understanding, but be given a “4” in effort to acknowledge the extra effort that was exhibited. It is equally as likely that a student who comes “naturally” to a particular subject area might receive a “4” for exceptional academic achievement, but a “2” or a “1” in effort indicating either an inconsistent or indifferent approach to work, or insufficient initiative to learn beyond what is required.


    Comments Section

    The comments section enables teachers to provide comments that are specific to the child. The comments section allows the teachers to expand on the scores that have been given. The comments are intended to point out areas of relative strength and weakness, to indicate progress toward a goal, to provide helpful suggestions for the upcoming trimester, or to clarify what is expected. You are always welcome to ask for further clarifications if needed.