Click here for the 2017-2018 Assessment Calendar

CMAS: Science and Social Studies 

**Please use IE or Chromebooks/Chromeboxes to access CMAS sample items

2016 Science and Social Studies Performance Level Names

This year, CMAS science and social studies performance level names were updated to align with CMAS ELA and math (PARCC) names, and CoAlt science and social studies performance level names were updated to align with CMAS ELA and math (DLM) names.  Names were updated for ease of interpretation across content areas; however, the cut scores for and performance expectations of these performance levels have not changed from previous administration years.  A document describing these changes for CMAS science and social studies is available at the following location:

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) is the state's large scale assessment designed to measure student performance in the Colorado Academic Standards in Science and Social Studies. PearsonAccess is the portal for students, parents, and educators to access important test information such as sample items and school and district assessment resources.

The CMAS Science exams will be required for all 5th and 8th grade students starting in spring of 2014.  The CMAS Social Studies exams will also be required for all 4th and 7th grade students starting in the spring of 2014.  Both the Science and Social Studies assessments are computer based, or Technology Enhanced Items (TEI), and will only be available in paper format for students with accommodation needs that are outlined in their IEP.

CMAS Practice Items
Practice items are available for students and will provide the opportunity to become familiar with the format and functionality of TEIs. TEI types allow students to indicate their responses in a format other than multiple-choice. Practice items also provide students the opportunity to use the tools available in TestNav™, the online testing software used in Colorado. While these practice items will not be scored in TestNav, the correct answer for each question is provided as the item is reviewed in the Sample Item Practice Guides available via the link below.

This practice item guide may be used by teachers or other adults to direct students through the practice items for new online assessments. While the use of this guide with the practice items is not required, it is strongly encouraged, as it will help ensure that students are familiar with the types of items that they may encounter while taking the online test. The directions in the guide will also help students navigate the test, including use of the Section Review screen within TestNav. The guide also provides teachers with the standard being addressed for each item to aide in understanding how the CAS will be assessed.  All practice items may be accessed here.

CMAS Resource Guides
    -CMAS Guide/Newsletter click here
    -CMAS Procedure Manual click here
    -CMAS User Guide click here


To access and view the Sample Items, a Chrome browser must be used.

The Test Demo is a series of videos that explain how students will take the online test and interact with the test platform.

ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given annually to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English Language Learners (ELLs). It provides educators and parents information about the English language proficiency level in the language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. (

In 2015-16, the WIDA Consortium will begin administration of the new, annual summative assessment, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0. An online assessment will replace the current paper-based version of ACCESS for ELLs for Grades 1-12, although a paper-based assessment will continue to be available according to each state's guidelines for the new assessments. For more information regarding a specific state’s guidelines, please visit the WIDA member states' pages. The Kindergarten and Alternate ACCESS for ELLs assessments will not change from previous years and remain paper-based.

The WIDA Consortium is pleased to provide this collection of sample ACCESS for ELLs® test items for educators interested in a better understanding of this English language proficiency assessment. While the security of test items in actual use in WIDA assessments is a top priority, it is also extremely important that educators have good, freely available sample items that provide a strong sense for them, their students, parents, and the general public of what taking the ACCESS for ELLs®  English language proficiency assessment entails. In addition, educators in university preparation programs can benefit from learning more about ACCESS for ELLs® prior to their work within school settings. While familiarity with the “look and feel” of the test is an important consideration, teachers can also greatly benefit from seeing connections between ACCESS for ELLs® test items and the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards upon which the items are directly based. (

For more information on ACCESS for ELLS visit Colorado Department of Education ACCESS for ELLS at or WIDA Consortium website at

The READ Act (HB 12-1238) requires that teachers measure each student’s reading competency using interim reading assessments. Students identified with a significant reading deficiency will have READ plans developed. The READ Act requires that districts select an approved interim assessment and administer to all K-3 students and use diagnostic assessments for students in grades K-3 identified as having a significant reading deficiency.  District 50 has selected DIBELS Next as the approved reading assessment tool.

DIBELS Next measures are quick and efficient measures that indicate if a student is on track for reading success. With both universal screening and progress monitoring components, these measures are critical tools for educators as they:

  • Identify students who need intervention support
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
  • Support the RtI/multitiered model
DIBELS Next Resources
    -DIBELS FAQ click here
    -Strategies for collecting school wide DIBELS data click here
    -Curriculum Maps for K-3 click here
    -Progress Monitoring Worksheets (K-6) click here
    -Parent Guide to DIBELS assessments click here

PARCC: Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy

**Please use IE or Chromebooks/Chromeboxes to access PARCC sample items

PARCC Released ItemsThe released test questions represent roughly one full test per grade level in each subject area. In addition to the questions, the learning standards associated with each test item are indicated and scoring rubrics are included that show what is required to score at each performance level. Examples of scored student responses are also available for teachers and students to see actual work and the corresponding points earned on the student example.
Blueprints and Test Specifications ELA & Math- Scroll to the table at the bottom of the page and look for the Common Form Specifications,Task Generation Models, and Evidence Tables. 

  Equation Editor Tutorials - Gr 3-5Gr 6-8Gr 9-12

Additional Resources
Common Core Instructional Resources - variety of Math and English Language Arts web based resources focused on the Common Core 
NJCTL - Videos to Prepare Students for PARCC 

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. These high quality, computer-based K-12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs.  The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-2015 school year.

PARCC is based on the core belief that assessment should work as a tool for enhancing teaching and learning.  Because the assessments are aligned with the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they ensure that every child is on a path to college and career readiness by measuring what students should know at each grade level.  They will also provide parents and teachers with timely information to identify students who may be falling behind and need extra help.  

PARCC Resource Guides
PARCC has produced a variety of resources for educators, parents, and the public to learn about the assessment system's history and development.

Additional Resources

Evidence Tablesevidence statements and tables (links to the tables are found in the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION box at the bottom of the page). The evidence statements and tables are aligned directly to the Common Core State Standards and may be useful in demystifying the design of the assessments for educators. They can help guide teachers as they plan lessons and create classroom assessments for their students.


The ELA tables describe the reading, writing and vocabulary to be measured on the PARCC summative assessments and what students might say or do to demonstrate mastery of the standards. For mathematics, the evidence tables show how the content and the mathematical practices go hand-in-hand and should not be thought of as separate standards. Any item on the PARCC assessment may measure multiple standards and multiple evidences.

ELA/Literacy Rubrics and White Papers

Draft rubrics are available to help support a stronger understanding of what the Prose Constructed Response items are asking students to know and be able to do. The rubrics have been revised since PARCC’s initial release to reflect understandings achieved through two research studies. The rubrics remain in draft form but can be used as a reference until they are refined by additional student responses during the completion of the field test. These draft rubrics are general and will be used as the basis for creating item-specific rubrics for each operational PARCC item.

Click to see the PARCC rubrics for Grade 3, Grade 4-5, and Grades 6-11.

In addition, PARCC has provided two white papers to support readiness for PARCC. The first paper provides ideas on how to use the draft rubrics during classroom instruction. The second paper provides a sample of writing forms that may be used to elicit student writing on the PARCC Summative Assessments for ELA/Literacy.


Performance Series is a computer-adaptive test, which means that the computer adapts to your child’s individual level based on his or her responses to multiple questions. Computer-adaptive tests challenge students when appropriate, and do not waste student time by giving them questions that are too difficult. By using a computer-adaptive test like Performance Series, as opposed to paper and pencil test like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, we are able to see a more accurate picture of each student’s individual achievement and knowledge of the standards over the course of the entire year. 

Benchmark assessments provide only a one-time snapshot of a student’s achievement with results reported once a year, and, sometimes, reported too late to have any influence on curricular and instructional decisions. Performance Series may be administered in fall, winter, and spring. Results from each administration of Performance Series are available immediately and can be used to target instruction based on a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Performance Series tests are flexible in their administration. Traditional standardized achievement tests are timed tests, usually administered in 40-50 minute blocks of time.  Students are often constrained by the limits of a timed test and have a heightened sense of stress during these testing sessions. Performance Series is not timed, thereby allowing each student to work at his or her own pace, to stop and start as needed, and to make up the test if he or she is absent.

What is the Achievement Series?

Scantron’s Achievement Series provides a mechanism where schools can create Measurement Topic Assessments (MTAs) to be administered online, on paper, or both. Results are available immediately, and reports provide the data educators need to improve student achievement.

Scantron Performance Series Resources

    -Adams 50 - Scantron Case Study click here
    -Parent FAQ click here

Brian Kosena,
Apr 17, 2014, 9:07 AM