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Assessing Student Learning

Assessments are an important part of SFUSD’s plan for high-quality teaching and learning, which seeks to help all students graduate prepared for college-level coursework and a 21st-century career. Like class assignments and report cards, assessments provide information to schools, teachers, and parents as one gauge of student progress toward mastery of grade and/or course learning goals

Scroll further down to read more information regarding the District Assessments and State Assessments.


Why Do We Need Assessments?

Assessments aren't just about the numbers, they're also a chance for reflection and growth. Look for areas for improvement, and remember to celebrate your child's accomplishments too!

How Did I Do? Download the comic

Not only are assessments a good way to evaluate your child's progress and accomplishments, they also inform teachers, principals and the district. Take a look at the various ways they're used to enhance teaching and learning at our schools.

A Look Inside: Assessment and Data in Action at a SFUSD SchoolDownload the infographic

District Assessments

SFUSD elementary, middle and high school students participate in common district assessments in reading, writing and mathematics. Common district assessments are one of many tools used to monitor and support student progress toward mastery of grade-level content and skills. Families of students in grades K-8 will receive student reports with scores from these assessments at Parent Teacher Conferences. Families will be provided translated reports containing their child's district assessment results from teachers during each Parent Teacher Conference Week (November/March) each year, click here to view sample Student District Assessment Reports.


All students in Transitional Kindergarten (TK), Kindergarten, grades 1 & 2 participate in a reading assessment created by Irene Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell. This research-based assessment provides teachers with important information regarding each child’s reading abilities as they progress from reading letters, to words, to texts of increasing complexity. Assessment results provide information for teachers to select texts, and teach reading strategies that match each reader's specific needs.

All students in grades 3-10 participate in a computer-based reading assessment called Reading Inventory. During these assessment students read texts, and then select words that complete sentences within those texts. Assessment results provide information for monitoring a child’s progress and growth in reading across the school year and across grade levels. With this information teachers match readers to text, differentiate and plan efficient and effective instruction for all learners.


All students in grades 3-10 participate in the Integrated Writing Assessment (IWA) during the winter of the 2017-2018 school year. During this assessment, students read texts, and then identify and synthesize important details from their reading to write an informative essay. Assessment results provide information for teachers to design whole/small group and individualized instruction that supports students in becoming proficient writers.

Visit the SFUSD Humanities page for more information regarding the English Language Arts Core Curriculum and resources for families. Click here for information for families about the Integrated Writing Assessment (IWA).


As part of the Math Core Curriculum, all students in Kindergarten through Algebra II/Pre-Calculus participate in the Math Milestone Tasks during the 2017-18 school year.  These are constructed response tasks in which students solve a series of math problems, showing their work and explaining their answer. 

All students in grades 3-8 participate in the Math Benchmark Assessment, which is a computer-based assessment that utilizes a short, focused set of items to measure progress toward learning goals (or benchmarks).

Visit the SFUSD Math page for more information regarding the Math Core Curriculum and resources for families.

State Assessments

State assessments are annual measures that provide a broad view of a student’s proficiency relative to grade- or course-level standards.  These culminating assessments can provide a general sense of how students and schools are doing for families, school and district leaders, and state policy makers. Families receive reports containing their child's state assessment results in the mail in late August each year, click here to view sample State Assessment Student Reports.

The state assessments for the 2017-18 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) are shown in the table below:

Content Area                        Smarter Balanced Assessment / California Alternative Assessment Grade Levels
English Language Arts and Mathematics Smarter Balanced Assessment / California Alternative Assessment Grades 3-8; 11
Science California Science Test (CAST) / CAA Grades 5, 8, and HS (one HS grade, TBD)              
English Language Development                                                                    California English Language Development Test (CELDT) / English Language Proficiency Assessments for CA (ELPAC)           Grades K-12                      


Please see the toolbar at the right of this page for more information regarding the CAASPP assessments, as well as understanding your child’s 2017 CAASPP Score Report. 

Questions? Call or email the Achievement Assessment Office at 241-6400 or