Sage Studio

Parent Training: Teachers Share Tips & Tricks to Prepare Your Kids for CAASPP/iReady

April 24, 2023 Sage Oak Charter Schools Episode 21
Sage Studio
Parent Training: Teachers Share Tips & Tricks to Prepare Your Kids for CAASPP/iReady
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, you'll learn what students and parents can expect from the upcoming CAASPP and iReady assessments at the high school level.


The California Assessment of School Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, is given to 3rd-8th grade and 11th grade high school students in the subjects of English Language Arts, Math, and Science (for some grade levels).  

Students will complete a multiple choice assessment and a performance task assessment for English Language Arts and Math.  Students taking the Science assessment will complete a multiple choice assessment.  

When do students take the CAASPP?

Sage Oak students will take the CAASPP in during the testing window April-May.  Check with your student’sTeacher Facilitator (TK-8) or Educational Advisor (9-12)  for specific testing schedule details.

Where do students take the CAASPP?

Students take the CAASPP virtually from home while Sage Oak TTeacher Facilitator (TK-8) or Educational Advisor (9-12) proctors online.


The iReady is a local assessment tool that students take every year in the fall and spring.  This diagnostic assessment measures growth within the year in the subjects of Reading and Math.

When do students take the iReady?

Sage Oak TK-12 students will take the iReady in the spring and fall while a Sage Oak Teacher Facilitator (TK-8) or Educational Advisor (9-12) proctors online.  Please see your student’s TF or EA for specific testing schedule details.

What is the parent’s role during CAASPP and iReady?

Parents can best support students by being present to assist with any technical issues and ensuring students get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, have a water bottle nearby, have scratch paper, and have a quiet and distraction-free testing area.

Thank you for listening to the Sage Studio podcast presented by Sage Oak Charter Schools and hosted by Tiffiny Webster, M.A.Ed. We invite you to follow the show and leave your review below. Sage Oak Charter Schools is an independent study nonclassroom based TK-12 personalized learning public charter school serving students in Southern California. Visit for more information.

Sage Oak Website

Hello and welcome to another episode of Sage Studio. I'm Tiffiny Webster, and today I am joined with our Assessment and Accountability Coordinator, Bethany Burgos welcome, Bethany. Thank you, I am so glad to have you on the podcast because today we are talking all about assessment. So, at this time that the podcast is being recorded, we are just getting ready to get into our assessment season. So I wanted to bring you on the podcast that you could just kinda unpack a little bit for our parents and let them know what to expect. So let's first start with why we even have assessments at Sage Oak. Why do we enter this assessment period? So why do we test? Why is it important? Such a good question, . So as a public charter school, Sage Oak has to provide measurable, valid data reflecting student progress towards mastery of grade level standards for all of our stakeholders. So in addition to that we also have to have a 95% participation rate for state mandated testing. So without that, our school cannot function as is and we cannot operate to support our students the best that we can. So if we don't do that we jeopardize not meeting the requirements for was accreditation. We might not qualify to receive important funding that all of our families look forward to and love to purchase the products and services that they need in order to educate their students. Not to mention, of course, assessments are also super valuable for our students and for our parents. It provides real-time feedback and data showing strengths and showing weaknesses as well, which will help our parents to drive their instruction, select curriculum, and also know areas that need support, but then areas where they're also successful. So there's so many reasons that we test. I'm so glad you brought some of those up because I think sometimes, , we forget that there is such importance with the compliance aspect so that we can continue to operate with all of those things that you mentioned that I know our parents love. Our parents love the benefit of having instructional funds and being able to use those funds to choose curriculum and community providers that, we have pre-approved or to participate in programs like the V L A program where those funds have been, allocated towards technology and all of those great resources. So it's so important to remember that all of that is tied in to our participation in this state testing. So I think that was super valuable. Tell us a little bit more about we, now that we have a better understanding of how it benefits the school, how does it benefit our students? What do they gain from going through this experience?.. And that's really our focus right? Is students and how can we benefit our students and best support our students through this process. How can we make it fantastic for them?. So I think it's important for us to remember testing is also such a huge life skill. I think sometimes we just get in this, it's like we have to test, we have to test, we have to test. But what about real life is made up of tests, whether it's a driving test or a state, a college entrance exam, or sometimes when we're trying to get jobs, we have to take tests and it's just a fact of life. And so some of us get super nervous about tests. Some of us don't like waking up to take tests. There's so many things that that we don't really like to do that involve testing, but the truth is, it's a fact of life and as we grow and get older, it's going to help us to be able to prepare for those things that we have to face. What an amazing growth. Yes, we can. From all of that for sure. Definitely, and I mean that is one of our core values here, at Sage Oak, is having that growth mindset and being able to, do things that are difficult and face challenges and to have the grit to go through experiences and grow because of them. So I love that is tied into this as well. Okay. So now that we know a little bit more about how that benefits the student, let's talk a little bit about the assessments. So we'll start with iReady. IReady is our local school mandated assessment. Most of our students take it two times a year, once at the beginning of the year and once at the end of the year. And that is really to show growth. Where are we starting as a student and then where are we finishing the end of the school year? It is a computer adaptive test, so the questions, half of them, up to half of them might be questions that our students can't answer. They might have never been exposed to the content. So some of our kiddos find that challenging.. But what happens is that we just tell 'em, take your best guess. It's trying to challenge you. It's trying to push you. If you don't know, take your best guess. And then the test will adjust back down and start a asking questions that are more at your level. And the beautiful thing is then at the very end, the test is going to produce an exact working grade level, so regardless of the student's grade level on paper, we see exactly how they're performing and it provides that immediate feedback for our students, our parents, and our teachers too, so that we can all work together to provide the best instruction and curriculum for the students. I love that because if you have a student who is taking that assessment, and you realize, oh, okay, this student is struggling a little bit in reading, then you can communicate that to the teacher and together you can maybe adjust the level of chapter books that you're reading or maybe add in a little bit more support. And then on the other hand, if it demonstrates, wow this student is really ahead. In vocabulary, for example, then, you know exactly where you can accelerate a little bit and say, Hey, all right, let's challenge with a little bit of the vocabulary assignments that we're working on and the teacher can support you in doing that. So great. Absolutely love that idea. Yeah. Okay, so that's iReady so we take that at the beginning and the end of the year, maybe in the middle for some students, so we can really measure the progress within the growth of that school year. Okay. How about CAASPP? Let's talk about CAASPP. So our CAASPP is our state mandated assessment, and our students start taking this test in third grade. So that test is in reading and math. There's two components. So we have a computer adaptive test, or the CAT in ELA and a computer adaptive test or CAT in Math. Then we have a performance task in E L A and a performance task in math. So there's two tests for each subject, and then for students in grades five, eight, and some 11th and 12th graders they will take the science test, the California science test or the CAST. Good to know. Okay, so now that we know the differences between iReady and between the CAASPP, how can parents really help support their students during this testing? Great question. And this is one of my most favorite parts of CAASPP testing actually. We get to, as teachers sit down with our students and support them in the most incredible way. We first start by supporting them using test preparation skills and strategies. So we provide Chromebooks for all of our testing students. We open up the Chromebook and we sit there and we go through the testing platform so that on testing day they open up their computer. They can say, I've seen this before. My teacher went through this me with me. We practiced. I know exactly what I'm looking at. Now I can focus all of my energy on actually answering the questions.. It ends up being really fun and a really positive experience. And our goal in all of this prep is that come testing day, they can relax. They know exactly what to do and they feel prepared so that all they have to do is answer questions. You guys have done so much as the assessment team to really lower that anxiety and help students feel really prepared.. So thank you so much for taking the time to go through that with us. I think that is going to actually put a lot of parents at ease. I mean, just hearing a little bit more about the compliance, how it benefits students, how it benefits us as a Sage Oak school how to kind of walk through those different tests and what they're going to expect from those. So thank you so much for sharing all that information. We appreciate it. Thank you for having us. It is great. All right, stay tuned because coming up we are going to be hearing from each of the teachers for different grade level bands. So we're going to be hearing from a K five teacher, a six eight teacher, and a high school teacher, who's just going to give us a little bit more insight on what testing will look like for those grade level bands. So stay tuned, coming up. Today I am joined by Amy Elwood. She is one of our TK through five teachers in our Personalized Learning Program welcome Amy. So glad to have you. Thank you. Thanks for having me. All right. So since you specialize in the TK through five grade level band we wanted to talk to you about ways that you can help our parents and our students prepare for the upcoming CAASPP for those grade level specifically. So third graders, they're going to start this year. And what tests do our third, fourth, and fifth graders take when it comes to CAASPP? They take the CAT test, which is it's a lot of multiple choice. It's mostly reading passages, answering questions. Sometimes they have to select specific sentences that support main ideas, things like that. And then they also take the performance task, which is where they read different articles and then they write a multi-paragraph essay using the information from those articles. And in math that's a similar format. They solve problems mostly in multiple choice. There's different ways that they answer the questions for that. And then they also have a performance task, which is more of a project and it uses information from the project to answer a variety of questions using that information. So let's start with the first one. So with the multiple choice test, how do you feel students can best prepare for the multiple choice section of the CAASPP test? Yeah, I think that our testing with iReady really helps prepare them for that. It is a similar format. I also feel like our school focuses a lot on informational text and work that they do with that will really help prepare them as well. Because they're used to using the text to find information, to answer questions. So all of those things are really helpful. So that really helps to prepare them. That's so good to know because I'm sure, especially our third graders who are taking this for the first time, even the fourth and fifth, I mean like they're still getting used to it. They're feeling a little bit nervous probably about CAASPP testing. So it's a good reminder, I think, to be like, you've done this before. Right? Think about how you were when you were taking the i-Ready test and what that was like and kind of drawing that experience for this. Do you find that reminding them about that helps to coach them through some of their nerves they might be feeling? Yes, absolutely. I think it's so important to remind kids that they've done this before and I think that's huge in reminding them and building their confidence. For sure. Okay, so now let's talk about the performance task. Let's start with Language Arts how can our students prepare for that? What can they expect from the performance task? Walk us through that portion. Yeah, the performance task is often the part where kids get more discouraged. So talking to them about, okay, you have read passages before some of your curriculums ask you to read and write information about what you read and cite sources. And then also exposure to the performance task. So all teachers will give resourcces, for example, performance tasks. So families or teachers can work through that with their child so that they can go into it feeling like, I've seen this before. I've, I know what this looks like, and feel confident to to go into that part of the test. So that's so good to know. So there's practice tests available if parents want to walk their child through what is a performance task going to look like in Language Arts and they can access those through their teacher. The teacher can provide them with the links to those performance tasks. And are there practice performance tasks for math as well? Yeah, there definitely are. In the resources that we give families, there are practice performance tasks for math. And one of the tips that I usually share with families is that it, it is a lot of explaining. So they are similar type problems that they've seen before in their math curriculum. But they are asked to explain a lot. So one of the things I like to do with my kids is just say, how would you explain this to your little brother or sister or a little neighbor friend that you know, because you know what you're doing in your head, but we have to get that down on in your answer. So how would you explain this in words as if you were teaching a kindergartner or a first grader, and usually that helps them. make more sense to them so that , they realize, oh, I really need to explain a lot in what I did in my head. So that's a great tip too, and I think that'll help definitely ease kids and take a little pressure off. I think it's going to really help our students this year. So thanks Amy. I appreciate talking with you. Thanks for being on the podcast., thank you. Today I am joined by Lisa Bunton. Lisa is one of our middle school teachers here at Sage Oak. Welcome, Lisa. It's great to be here. So great to have you on the podcast today. So let's start first with the math test. I know that sometimes that can give our students a little bit of anxiety. So tell me, what are some of the tips and tricks that you have for parents on how they can support their students with math? So I definitely agree that those stressors, right, of just like, what's going to come up and what might I not know or just, you know, it's a test. And so a lot of us have that test anxiety, myself included. So with my students, what I've been mentioning and encouraging them to do is go through the vocabulary, be familiar with words like sum, quotient dividend, remainder, exponent, square roots. So if any of these come up even greater than, and less than if any of these come up in these problems, we're not stuck on the vocabulary and we're more just able to focus and relax and say, oh, I've got this. They're just asking what the sum is, what it equals. Oh, okay. And so they can kind of just focus more on the problem at hand and not so, hyper focused on that vocabulary that comes sometimes scares us. Yeah, I think that is such a great tip because sometimes it's like you're reading through it and you see this word and you're like, wait, does it mean this does it mean that I can't quite remember. And all of a sudden it's like, that's all you're focusing on, right? But we've all been there and we get you students. We know how that feels. So I think your tip is really good. Just kind of familiarizing yourself with that vocabulary that you might see. So, you know, it doesn't catch you off guard. Love that one. Okay. Now I also know for our middle school students along with the language arts and the math assessment, they'll also be taking the science assessment in eighth grade. And the science assessment is a multiple choice assessment that they'll be taking. So what would be some advice that you could offer our parents to help their kids kind of prepare for that multiple choice science test? Again, kind of take our time, right? Breathe, take those small breaks on any parts, really. Just breathe, take your time and read the whole question. Don't just assume like, oh, I know this, it's a and like end of story. I click A and I move on. Read all the answers. Even if you're like 99% sure that it's A read B, read C option, read D and then you're really sure you've got it at a hundred percent with A. Also if you get to a question and you're like I just, I'm not sure I'm between A and C, take your best educated, I wouldn't say guess, but your best educated you know, Like approach, right? Use the context clues, use your own personal knowledge and kind of narrow it down. Start narrowing it down like that with your background knowledge, with your previous knowledge, with the context clues. Narrow it down the best you can to that one option that you think is your best educated you know, approach, like you said. Yeah, I think that's really solid advice to go through everything and then really use the context clues within the answers themselves to, to really kind of make your final selection some. I love that. Good advice on that. Yeah. Okay. And then as far as walking through the test. When it comes to like at the end of each answer, is the test automatically going to save students' results? Do they just keep advancing? Is there anything that they should be thinking about or be aware of when it comes to progressing from question to question? So when they're progressing, it is supposed to save it. However, I'm kind of like that worry wart person where I'm like, you know what? If we can save each question, the better, then we know it's really safe. So at the top left of the screen, there is a save button and I've been encouraging my students every time you're done with the question, just hit that save button before you hit the next and you move on. Just hit that save button. It's not going to hurt. It's just kind of like our insurance plan. It's going to make sure we saved our work for sure. Yes. And that if there was some weird glitch in the system, we saved it. So that's what I just kinda encourage them to do that as well as just familiarize themselves with the tools. I know in math you're allowed to sometimes use a calculator in the reading. You can highlight, you can shadow just the certain sentence you're focused on and you can even take notes on some of the passages, so if you just kind of familiar yourself with that toolbar. I've also been encouraging my families to do that so that when you're in that test, any type of tool you'll need, you'll know right where to go. You'll kind of know which each, what each tool does for you to help you out throughout the test. I love it. Those are such great tips, such tried and true tips as well. Review your math vocabulary, use process of elimination, save as you go and practice with the tools so that you're ready to use one test day. So good. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Lisa. I know our students and our parents are going to appreciate all of those tips and tricks, and I really appreciate you sharing them with us. Well, thank you so much and everybody, you are going to do amazing on your test, so go for it. Do your best. Breathe. You'll be just fine. I love it. Thanks, Lisa. Bye. Thank you. Hey there. I'm joined with Jared Torres from our high school department. Welcome, Jared. Thanks so much for having me being here. So I wanted to invite you to the podcast, Jared to just give us a little bit of information as to what parents can expect when it comes to students taking the CAASPP . It's taken different times in elementary and even middle school. But there's one time in high school, and that's 11th grade. And so that's a big data pulse where we can see how high school students are performing in English, Math, and Science. The CAASPP is actually coming up really soon. The main week of testing for high school is going to take place the first week of May. If parents wanted to get some more information about the upcoming CAASPP or go through some practice tests how can they access that information? So their EA have been sending out weekly updates with those resources, with practice tests and also their EAs have been introducing them, familiarizing them with the practice tests that are offered on the CAASPP website. And that is a really good component I think for families because, sometimes the unknown is the scariest part or most intimidating part. I think of it. Like to talk about it, like doc shock, like you open something up and you're like, what is going on? There's a lot of things happening, so doc shock is awesome. I've never heard that term. I love it. Doc shock for sure.. Yeah. So just familiarizing yourself with the dashboard where the tools are. Just those types of things really can, bring the test anxiety down if there is any, and make it a. much more pleasant experience. If you're not like, where's the calculator? I can't find it. Right. All right, so that's CAASPP, which is the California State Test. Talk to us now about iReady. When is iReady, how does that come into play? Yeah, so iReady is a lot more frequent for high school. It's something that we're doing every year and even multiple times a year. There's a beginning of year test and there's an end of year test. So students are like I just did this. And it can feel like that because the school years fly by.. Yeah, that really it's this diagnostic tool, right? To really just see like, where are the gaps and where are the gains? Like where is the student doing really well? Okay, this is an area that they're nailing. And then this is an area where we know we need to focus. When do students take the iReady? Is it like right after the CAASPP, or do they have a little bit of time? Yeah. For 11th graders, it's going to feel for those that are taking the CAASPP, it's a couple weeks after the CAASPP. Okay. And so it can feel like kind of a real close timeline, as the year wraps up, it's, the days just totally escape us. So, it's in the middle of May. And, there's going to be enough break for the 11th graders to take a breath For sure. What is the parent role when it comes to assessments? How can parents help support their. Yeah, I mean, there's really simple things like, maybe not letting the student like skip breakfast that morning and things like that. Little things like that are really helpful. I started taking like these greens and I feel like my brain has been opened and oh, I can see clearly now . Other than eating gummy worms and yes, beef jerky, okay, so, so no to gummy worms, yes. To healthy breakfast. That's a good tip. I like it. Yeah. like little things like that really do., can be that difference between when a student is really stuck on a problem and where they're able to have the composure to take a deep breath. And you know, push through and do well. I like it. Okay. So really the parent support comes in with like all the things that we know we should do when we're taking tests. Get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast, sit down, have less distractions around you, get focused. Make sure your WiFi's rolling and yeah. All of those little things are taken care of. Sounds good. Yeah, . So the least amount of times they need, they get up the usually the better. I, the kids that I'm around, that's, I'm looking for an excuse to get up and go do something. So, no excuses to go check on something or right up and move around. And it sounds like the high school team has really gone to great lengths to consider all those factors and what it's like for students to take a test. And you've broken it up into very doable blocks of time so they can just, kind of make that commitment, like, okay, for the next 90 minutes I'm going to be really focused on sitting down and doing this. And then test taking in the convenience of your home, like how sweet is that? Yeah. You don't even have to get up and drive and do other things like that. Like that is pretty sweet. You get the benefit, feel like it's. Yeah. Testing in slippers. It's a thing.. Yeah, absolutely. I love it. I love it. Thanks Jared. I think that is super helpful. I think that, you've kind of calmed some nerves a little bit maybe that, that some parents or some students might have been feeling about taking the upcoming assessment. It sounds like high school has a great plan in place and it's already beginning to push out some of those resources to parents and students, which is awesome. Thanks so much for coming on today and sharing that information. It's always great to talk to you. Thanks for having me, Tiffiny. All right. You're welcome. Good luck with assessment season. We really do have such an amazing team here at sjo, and I really hope that after listening to this podcast and all the interactions that you've been having with your child's teacher, over the last few weeks that you do really feel really supported and ready for the upcoming assessment season. We wish you all the best with the cast and the iReady test. All the best of luck to your students as well. We know that you are going to do a great job and we so appreciate everyone's participation in these assessments. Thanks so much.