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Understanding California Science Test (CAST) Summary Reports

California Science Test Noteworthy Information

  • 2019–20 results are not available due to the suspension of testing as a result of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • Aggregate overall achievement and domain achievement results, beginning in 2020–21, will be reported for tested groups of 11 or more with enrolled counts displayed for groups of 4 or more.

California Science Test (CAST) Results Definitions

Number Enrolled—A count of students in the selected entity (i.e., state, county, district, school, or student group) who were eligible to take the CAST in grades 5, 8, and HS (grades 10, 11, and 12).

Number Tested—A count of students in the selected entity (i.e., state, county, district, school, or student group) who were administered the CAST. This number excludes students not tested by parent/guardian request, students not tested due to a significant medical emergency, and students who were assigned to take the test, but did not test.

Number of Tests with Valid Scores—The number of valid scores includes students in the selected entity (i.e., state, county, district, school, or student group) who were enrolled during the active testing window and responded to enough questions on the test to generate a score.

Mean Scale Score—The sum of scale scores for students with valid scores in the selected entity (i.e., state, county, district, school, or student group) and grade, divided by the Number of Tests with Valid Scores. For more information, please visit the Scale Score Ranges page.

Definitions of Language Fluency Groups

Initial fluent English proficient and English only (IFEP and EO)—An aggregation of students who have an English Language Acquisition Status of Initial Fluent English Proficient, Reclassified Fluent English Proficient or English Only.

Initial fluent English proficient (IFEP)—A student whose score on the Initial ELPAC determines fluent English proficiency and places the student in mainstream classes. This student does not require English Learner services.

Reclassified fluent English proficient (RFEP)—A student in kindergarten through grade twelve who, upon entering public school in California, is identified as an English learner (EL) and is subsequently reclassified in California as proficient in English.

English learner (EL)—A student in kindergarten through grade twelve whose primary language is a language other than English as indicated on their Home Language Survey and who, upon initial assessment in California, is determined to be eligible for support with English language development based on the results of their initial assessment of English language proficiency.

Adult English learner (ADEL)—A student aged 22 years or older enrolled in grades Kindergarten through 12 who has been identified by a local educational agency as an English learner (EL) through a local process (e.g., Home Language Survey, and/or another local assessment) because the student is not eligible to take the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC). Adult English learners are not considered English learners for purposes of federal Title III funding or state-level accountability, and are not aggregated to any other English learner groups.

English only (EO)—A student in kindergarten through grade twelve for whom English is reported as the primary language on their Home Language Survey.

Ever-EL—A student who has been designated an English learner (EL) at any point during their enrollment in a U.S. school.

For more information, please visit the Understanding English Learner Achievement in California (PDF) document.

CAST Reporting Achievement Level Descriptors

CAST overall ALDs for grades five and eight and high school
CAST overall ALDs for grades five and eight and high school
Grades Standard Exceeded Standard Met Standard Nearly Met Standard Not Met
5 and 8 and high school (i.e., 10, 11, or 12) The student at this level demonstrates a thorough understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the performance expectations of the California Next Generation Science Standards. The student at this level demonstrates an adequate understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the performance expectations of the California Next Generation Science Standards. The student at this level demonstrates a partial understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the performance expectations of the California Next Generation Science Standards. The student at this level demonstrates a minimal understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the performance expectations of the California Next Generation Science Standards.

CAST Reporting Domain Descriptors

Area (Science Domain) Descriptors

The above, near, and below standard categories were identified by using the distance a student's performance on the questions related to that science domain is from the Level 3 "Standard Met" achievement level criterion. The science domain achievement category indicates the score on a science domain as follows:

  • If the scale score of a science domain is above the "Standard Met" achievement level on the overall CAST, the achievement category for the science domain is "Above Standard."
  • If the scale score of a science domain is at or near the "Standard Met" achievement level on the overall CAST, the achievement category for the science domain is "Near Standard."
  • If the scale score of a science domain is below the "Standard Met" achievement level on the overall CAST, the achievement category for the science domain is "Below Standard."
CAST Science Domain-Specific ALDs
CAST Science Domain-Specific ALDs
Science Domain Above Standard Near Standard Below Standard
Life Sciences The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Life Sciences, which focus on structures and processes in living things, ecosystems, heredity, and biological evolution. The student demonstrates some understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Life Sciences, which focus on structures and processes in living things, ecosystems, heredity, and biological evolution. The student demonstrates minimal understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Life Sciences, which focus on structures and processes in living things, ecosystems, heredity, and biological evolution.
Physical Sciences The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Physical Sciences, which focus on matter and its interactions, motion and stability, energy, and waves and their applications. The student demonstrates some understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Physical Sciences, which focus on matter and its interactions, motion and stability, energy, and waves and their applications. The student demonstrates minimal understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in Physical Sciences, which focus on matter and its interactions, motion and stability, energy, and waves and their applications.
Earth and Space Sciences The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Earth and Spaces Sciences, which focus on Earth's place in the universe, Earth's systems, and Earth and human activity. The student demonstrates some understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in the Earth and Space Sciences, which focus on Earth's place in the universe, Earth's systems, and Earth and human activity. The student demonstrates minimal understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills associated with the core ideas, concepts, and practices in Earth and Spaces Sciences, which focus on Earth's place in the universe, Earth's systems, and Earth and human activity.
California Department of Education 1430 N Street Sacramento, CA 95814