Understanding California Science Test (CAST) Summary Reports

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.

Definitions of English Learner Groups

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

English learner (EL)—A student in kindergarten through grade twelve for whom there is a report of a language other than English on the Home Language Survey and who, upon initial assessment in California, is determined to lack the clearly defined English language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and/or writing necessary to succeed in the school's regular instructional programs.

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 subsequently reclassified in California as proficient in English.

Ever-EL—A student that 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 document.

CAST Reporting Achievement Level Descriptors

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
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.