State Alternate Assessments

State Alternate Assessments

All SFUSD students take end-of-year state assessments to measure annual progress.

However, some students will take alternate versions of state assessments. California Alternate Assessments for ELA,  mathematics and science are annual state assessments used to measure what students with disabilities know and can do. Information from CAAs helps identify and address gaps in knowledge or skills early so students can receive the support they need. The student’s IEP team decides on the use of an alternate assessment.

Students with disabilities who are learning English take an alternate version of ELPAC: English Language Assessments for California.


Learn More!



What are the Alternate Assessments?

The California Alternate Assessments for ELA, mathematics and science are part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. CAAs for ELA and mathematics are the annual measure of what students know and can do using alternate achievement standards.  

The Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is the test that is used to measure how well students in kindergarten K through grade 12, speak, understand, read and write in English when it is not their primary language.

What do the Alternate Assessments measure?

The CAAs are measures of English language arts, math and science. 

The assessments are aligned with alternate achievement standards—called the Core Content Connectors—and linked to the Common Core State Standards for ELA and mathematics. The CAAs for ELA and math are computer-based and are stage-adaptive, adjusting the level of difficulty to the student’s performance at selected stages within the test. Student results are reported as one of three performance levels.

CAA for Science is administered to students in grades 5, 8, 11 and 12.  It is aligned with alternate achievement standards—called the Science Core Content Connectors—which are linked to the performance expectations from the California Next Generation Science Standards.

ELPAC measures proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. The ELPAC is aligned with California English Language Development Standards.

How are Alternate Assessments administered?

California Alternate Assessments for English language arts, mathematics and science are administered to eligible students using the secure browser and test delivery system CAAs are administered one-on-one by a trained CAA test examiner familiar to the student, usually the student’s teacher.

Alternate ELPAC is administered one-on-one by a trained ELPAC test examiner. The test examiner works with the individual student daily and best understands how to support the student and is familiar with the student’s individualized education program.

When the IEP team decides the student should take alternate assessments, all assessments (English language arts, math, science and ELPAC) will be given in the alternate version.


When will I receive my child’s Alternate Assessment 2021-22 results, and how are they used?

At the beginning of the school year 2022-23, individual student score reports will be available to parents. Score reports include an overall score, a description of the student’s achievement level for English language arts and mathematics, and other information. Student score reports are available through the SFUSD Family Portal (ParentVue).

How can I best support my child for the Alternate Assessment administration?

There are a number of ways that you can maximize your child's learning capabilities throughout the school year, which can lead to confident test-taking. Some of these strategies include:

  • Assisting your child with homework and ensuring that your child is completing all homework assignments
  • Helping to develop good study habits, thinking skills, and a positive attitude towards education from an early age
  • Ensuring that your child has good attendance at school
  • Staying in communication with your child's teacher
  • Encouraging your child to read as much as possible
  • Educational games and programs that your child enjoys
  • Helping your child learn how to follow directions carefully

Resources For Parents


Alternate Assessments for English Language Arts and Mathematics explains who takes CAA for ELA and Math, and why, how and when it is administered

Alternate Assessments for Science explains who takes CAAs for Science, and why, how and when it is administered

Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California explains who takes Alternate ELPAC and why, how, and when it is administered

Information and facts for parents about California Alternate Assessments for ELA and math

Instructions for viewing or printing student score reports using the SFUSD ParentVUE Family Portal 

The Parent Guides to Understanding are two-page flyers that answer key questions about California's assessment programs. Information is also included about how parents can support their student's success

Starting Smarter for CAASPP and ELPAC help parents understand student scores and reports, view sample test questions, and provide additional resources to support your child’s learning


This page was last updated on July 7, 2022