Assessment and Accountability Department
March 2020 Update: Assessment/Accountability Department staff will be working remotely with limited or no access to District Office phone systems at this time, so please use email to contact us until further notice. Thank you for your understanding!
Pam VandeKamp, Ed.D
Director of Assessment and Accountability
Director of Assessment and Accountability
Assessment and Accountability Assistant
(925) 462-5500 x4111
Coordinator Language Acquisition
The goals of assessment in the Pleasanton Unified School District are manifold and multi-layered. The staff uses assessment data not only to monitor continuous student progress and identify the areas of improvement, but also to measure the effectiveness of teaching strategies, to measure the progress made towards meeting district and state standards, to plan strategies and set goals for future, and to evaluate the implementation of the annual strategic planning goals. This website is constructed to assist numerous district stakeholders in making informed educational decisions. The compilation of data has been carefully crafted to represent all aspects of education in Pleasanton schools.
Comprehensive Assessment System
No single assessment can provide all the necessary information to make fully informed curriculum and instruction decisions. A comprehensive assessment system, however, can provide useful data to assist the decision-making process. The following guiding principles are considered critical factors in the analysis of assessment data:
- Assessments are an integral part of the instruction.
- Using multiple indicators of assessment to evaluate success is essential.
- Collecting and maintaining quality assessment data is important.
- Emphasizing comparison of assessment data from year to year rather than from school to school is the centerpiece of our improvement.
- Communication of assessment data helps make informed decisions.
State Mandated Assessments
Pleasanton Unified School District’s assessment system includes a number of different tests used for a variety of purposes.
Census tests are those taken by all students. They include:
- The Smarter Balanced Assessment Summative Consortium (SBAC) assessments in English and math for grades 3rd-8th & 11th have three components:
- California Science Test for grades 5, 8 and once in high school
- California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for ELA, mathematics and science are alternate assessments for students with disabilities who cannot take part in general statewide assessment programs.
English Learner Proficiency Assessment in California (ELPAC): students in kindergarten through grade twelve whose home language is not English are required by law to be assessed in English language proficiency. ELPAC allows schools to identify students who need to improve their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. Schools also give the test each year to students who are still learning English. The ELPAC replaces the California English Language Development Test (CELDT).
Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) The physical fitness test for students in California schools is the FITNESSGRAM. The main goal of the test is to help students in starting life-long habits of regular physical activity. Students in grades five, seven, and nine take the fitness test. The test has six parts that show a level of fitness that offer a degree of defense against diseases that come from inactivity. The test results can be used by students, teachers, and parents.
California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and California School Staff Survey (CSSS) provide a comprehensive, data-driven decision-making process to guide efforts to improve school climate, learning supports, and engagement, as well as to identify and increase quality of health, prevention, and youth development programs.
District Benchmark Assessments
- Ensure that instruction across the District is aligned to the adopted Common Core State Standards and standards-based core curriculum.
- Inform teachers and administrators about student progress and effectiveness of instruction and materials.
- Provide disaggregated student performance data to teachers and administrators to make decisions that will improve teaching and learning.
- Assist in the monitoring of individual student progress in the core academic curriculum.
- Provide data to identify under-served students who need intervention and support services
- Illuminate Data and Assessment (DnA) is an online data management system for collecting, creating, scoring, reporting and analyzing formative, benchmark, and state-mandated assessments. It also supports progress monitoring of student achievement aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It helps school districts meet the state and federal testing and reporting requirements, empowers teachers to modify instruction based on assessment results, and provides data that school and district administrators can use to plan appropriate professional development and support.
- College Board Exams: Group tests are those taken by a particular group of students. They include Advanced Placement (AP) exams and the college entrance tests (e.g., PSAT, SAT, ACT).
- Please note that PUSD's Student Services Department oversees PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and ACT.