Measuring Results

You can view our 2022-2023 Districtwide Student Assessment Calendar here.

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Multiple Measures Philosophy

The Portola Valley School District uses multiple measures to evaluate student achievement, progress, and success. The list below, although not exhaustive, provides an overview of the tools used.
  • Unit tests

  • Quizzes

  • Papers

  • Presentations

  • Videos

  • Observations

  • Conversations

  • Projects

  • Benchmark and Statewide Assessments

Statewide Assessments 

The California Department of Education recently moved away from the fourteen-year-old Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) tests, which measured students’ mastery of the California State Standards.

The new assessment program is called California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP. It is made up, primarily, of the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) online assessments as well as Science assessments in grade 5 and 8. California Alternative Assessment (CAA) is an evaluation tool used for students with severe disabilities.

Each item within SBAC are organized by 
Claims and Targets that help communicate a student's proficiency. The Claim is a broad statement that outlines the outcomes of achievement towards the Common Core State Standards. Each claim consists of several learning targets that better clarify specific skills that align to a cluster of standards. 

Parent Guide to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments

Guides for Understanding Score Reports

Available on the CDE Website

  Academic Check-up Video About Smarter Balanced Assessments

English Language Arts

Claim #1- Reading
Students can read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts.

Claim #2- Writing
Students can produce effect and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.

Claim #3- Speaking and Listening
Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences.

Claim #4- Research
Students can engage in research /inquiry to investigate topics and to analyze, integrate, and present information.


Claim #1- Concepts and Procedures
Students can explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency.

Claim #2- Problem Solving/Modeling and Data Analysis
Students can solve a range of complex well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem solving strategies.Students can analyze complex, real-world scenarios and can construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.

Claim #3- Communicating Reasoning
Students can clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support their own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others.

SBAC Claims, Targets, and Standards listed below 


Testing occurs in Language Arts and Math for our grade 3-8 students. The test is completed online and is computer adaptive—the difficulty of the exam tailors itself to students' abilities.

The assessment is made up of traditional test items, where students select correct answers, and items where students have to type in constructed responses. There also will be extended writing prompts and performance tasks that challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to real-world problems.

During the 2015-16 school year, students took the Smarter Balanced Assessment online for the 2nd year (for students in grade 4-8). Since the CAASPP program begins in 3rd grade, students in this grade level experienced the test for the first time. 

Understanding Score Report

Video from 2015-16

Learn more about Understanding the Score Report.

Frequently Asked Questions 
Who is taking the State test?

All PVSD students in grades 3-8. 

Will we get results from the State test?

Yes. The CAASPP will be reporting student data to both parents and school districts. 

How do the new assessments better evaluate students?

For the first time, computer adaptive testing can now assess a student's ability to not just recall facts, but now evaluate their strategic and extended thinking skills. These Depths of Knowledge provide better insights into a student's cognitive skills. 

How will PVSD students prepare for the new assessments?

Our teachers have been working with the Common Core State Standards for many years. Their preparation in teaching the standards, coupled with assessments we’ve used for years (such as the MARS assessment – Balanced Assessment in Math) and our transition towards assessing students with our new Illuminate platform is helping to ensure our students are well positioned and prepared for the new assessments.

Where can I find out more?

CAASPP website 

Assessment website for California Department of Education

Sample and Practice Tests