Assessment is a critical element in the instructional process and has a direct relationship between what is assessed and what is taught.  For the instructional process to be effective assessment, curriculum and instruction need to be aligned.  Assessment within the OCDE Special Schools is an ongoing process, not a single test or event.  It consists of, but is not limited to, data collection, work samples, informal tests, progress reports, observations and collaboration with specialists.

California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA)
CAPA is the alternate performance assessment section of California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) assessment program.  The CAPA is administered annually to students identified with significant disabilities who cannot take part in the general statewide assessment programs.  The CAPA evaluates student progress based upon a sub-set of standards from California’s general education standards. For more information on the CAPA, please visit

California High School Exit Exam Results
The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is primarily used as a graduation requirement in California, but the results of this exam are also used to determine AYP for high schools, as required by the federal NCLB law. The CAHSEE has an English-language arts section and a math section and, for purposes of calculating AYP, three performance levels were set: Advanced, Proficient, and Not Proficient. Please note the score a student must achieve to be considered Proficient is different than the passing score for the graduation requirement. The table below displays the percentage of students in the 10thgrade scoring at Proficient or Advanced levels for the most recent three-year period.

California Physical Fitness Test
Each spring, all students in grades 5, 7, and 9 are required to participate in the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The test measures six key fitness areas: 1) Aerobic Capacity, 2) Body Composition, 3) Abdominal Strength,
4) Trunk Extension Strength, 5) Upper Body Strength, 6) Flexibility. To meet fitness standards, students must score in the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) on all six fitness tests.

California Standards Tests
The multiple-choice California Standards Tests (CST) are part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) and are administered only to students in California public schools. These tests determine students’ achievement of the California Academic Content Standards and provide feedback on their success given what they are expected to know in each grade level and subject. For the 2007 STAR exam, students in grades 2-11 took an English-language arts and mathematics test. Students in grades 4 and 7 also participated in an essay-writing test. History-Social science tests were given to students in grades 8 and 11, and students in grades 5, 8, and 10 took a science test. Students in grades 9-11 who completed a Standards-based science course and/or history-social science course were given additional exams. Because tests are meant to measure how well students achieve standards rather than how well they do compared to other students, the results are reported as performance levels. The five performance levels are: • Advanced (exceeds State Standards) • Proficient (meets Standards) • Basic • Below basic • Far below basic Students scoring at the Proficient or Advanced level meet State Standards in that content area. The adjacent tables show the percentage of students that scored at proficient or advanced levels in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history social science.  For a complete report on all subgroups and their scores by grade level, please visit

Criterion Referenced Tracking
The (OCDE) Special Schools program performs ongoing tracking of student progress through the use of published criterion referenced tests and developmental checklists. Typically, these tests/checklists are administered prior to each student’s IEP and assist teachers in the identification and development of meaningful IEP goals and objectives. The annual use of these measures greatly assists in the monitoring of student progress and the development of meaningful IEP goals and objectives.

Graduation/Certificates of Completion
All public high school students beginning with the graduating Class of 2006 must pass the two-part California High School Exit Exam in order to receive a diploma. It is given each spring to all 10th graders, and at other times during the year to 11th and 12th graders who have not passed both the language arts section and math section. The exam measures whether students have mastered California State Standards and Frameworks in English/language arts and mathematics.

The instructional program for OCDE students on the graduation track focuses on the skills necessary to meet the proficiency and graduation requirements established by the school district of residence. Diplomas are awarded to students meeting regular or differential standards as indicated in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

Students who are not working toward meeting graduation requirements, as defined within the IEP, receive a Certificate of Completion.

Norm Referenced Tests
Norm referenced tests (NRT) are nationally administered tests that provide statistical feedback on a national level. The purpose of these tests is to determine how well California students are achieving academically compared to students nationally in reading, language, spelling, and mathematics in grades 3 and 7 only. The current NRT adopted by the State Board of Education is the California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition, or CAT/6. For a complete report on all subgroups and their scores by grade level, please visit

Preschool Desired Results- Access (DRDP-A)
Is a criterion-referenced assessment system developed by the State of California to measure the progress of children with disabilities toward achieving a set of identified cognitive, personal, social, physical/motor, and health outcomes.  This test is administered twice yearly and results are submitted to the State Department of Education.

Triennial Assessment
Students enrolled in OCDE Special Schools Program are provided a multidisciplinary triennial assessment. With informed written consent, appropriately qualified personnel evaluate the student’s strengths and all areas of suspected disability.  This assessment measures areas of suspected disability specific to a student’s cognitive, academic, language, social/emotional skills, and/or educationally relevant health, developmental and medical findings. The assessment includes information gathered in a variety of ways to provide important functional, developmental and academic information that identifies the strengths, present skill levels and areas of educational need in all areas of suspected disability, including but not limited to: review of records, student observation, classroom work samples, interviews with persons knowledgeable about the student, district and/or State assessments, psychometric tests. This evaluation provides the IEP team information that assists in determining if a student has an eligible disability and because of that disability, needs special education or related services in order to make progress in school.