CAST Tests New Science Standards

The pilot CAST test, taken by current seniors in the 2017 – 2018 school year, releases results


Emily Chin

Juniors take a practice science test for the upcoming CAST test.

In spring of 2018, juniors and seniors at Woodbridge High participated in the field test of the California Science Test (CAST) during homeroom. The purpose of the CAST is to assess student knowledge and skills in science, and to foster science education at every grade level.

“In addition, the CAST is intended to help students learn the knowledge and skills they need for college and careers,” Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Data and assessment coordinator Lindsay Weiss said.

The California Science Test (CAST) is part of California’s system of assessments called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The CAST measures students’ knowledge and potential based on the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS), which focus on understanding the scientific concepts found in the life sciences, earth and space sciences and physical sciences. These standards integrate disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to help students understand how science works in the real world.

Student participation in the initial exam will help the test developers update the test, such as the overall content and platform logistics.

“This was a new test this year to test the science using the new standards. [It was] a pilot test,” Assistant Principal Carlene McCurry said.

The majority of students received results in the ‘moderate understanding’ range, and the state average percent correct on the test was between 32 – 44 percent.

These results are only preliminary as the test developers were still testing out different items at different levels of difficulty at the time of administration, so they cannot tell us whether or not a student met the standards for science since the state is still finalizing the scoring process.

The results of the test will not be included in students’ academic records or used for making instructional decisions. Nevertheless, administrators encouraged students to complete the test to the best of their abilities.“They told us to try our hardest and take it seriously,” senior Zeynep Cetin said.

The finalized version of the science test will be administered for the first time this coming spring. All students will participate in the science test once in high school, most likely during their junior year. Parents will receive scores from the operational test through Parent Portal in the fall of 2019.