After personal consultation with State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, and Santa Clara County Superintendent, Mary Ann Dewan, the Palo Alto Unified School District has decided to postpone CAASPP testing until late April through May for all sites. The State and County leaders now fully understand our concerns about maintaining high-level instruction and the potential for low participation rates. They are also aware that any school closures between now and the end of the school year could derail any testing efforts for PAUSD and school districts across California.  If our conditions stabilize the postponed testing window could provide meaningful data. This is a rapidly evolving health situation and may take many turns before any potential test is administered.


Click here for CAASPP information in English
Click here for CAASPP information in Spanish
Click here for CAASPP information in Mandarin Chinese

CAASPP - CAST Schedule

This spring, Juniors across the state will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) with most students taking the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Assessments. PAUSD Juniors will be assessed the week of March 16 - 20, 2020. The SBAC English and Mathematics tests reflect California's rigorous Common Core standards, and allow students to demonstrate analytical writing and critical thinking skills.

It is extremely important for us to obtain results that are reflective of our entire student body. This data allows us to evaluate our curricular strengths and weaknesses and identify our challenges, including how we are progressing in our efforts to close the achievement gap, so that we may continuously grow. SBAC is a no-stress test and occurs after the SAT and well before the APs in May.

SBAC results benefit students. Students who meet the score requirements may earn the following:

  • The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) - Recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English. The SSB will be awarded by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with specified criteria set forth in the legislation. To earn this seal, the student must earn a score of at least the "Standard Met" achievement level on the ELA/Literacy portion of the assessment and meet additional requirements for their second language.
  • Golden State Seal Merit Diploma (GSSMD) - Recognizes graduates who have demonstrated mastery of high school curriculum in at least six subject areas. The GSSMD is awarded jointly by the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • College Readiness Indicator via the California State University's Early Assessment Program (EAP) - Juniors who reach the designated levels of proficiency will be able to bypass introductory English and math courses at the California state schools. Students have the option of releasing their results upon completion of each assessment. The California Schools Dashboard reports performance data for all public schools in the state and is updated annually in December. The "Dashboard" displays how each district, school, and subgroup meets or progresses toward standards in several categories including academics. Click links to view PAUSD's Dashboard: Palo Alto Unified, Palo Alto Unified List of Schools.
    Although participation has greatly improved over the last two years at Paly and Gunn, it is nowhere near the required participation stipulated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As a result of non-participation over the last two years, many students did not qualify for state recognition/awards simply as a result of not taking the SBAC assessments. We are proud of our students and want their incredible talents to be honored.

The requirement for all districts nationally is to test at least 95% of all students and student subgroups. (See addendum below.) Therefore, all PAUSD juniors are expected to take the SBAC tests in March 2020.

If you have any questions, please direct them to: Gunn CAASPP Coordinator, Pier Angeli La Place (650) 354-8200,

Additional information is available on the PAUSD Assessment webpage

SBAC Letter - HS 19-20 February 2020 I 1