Smarter Balanced Assessment System

In California, all students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 will participate in the 2015 Smarter Balanced tests, which include both ELA and mathematics content areas. These tests are administered online.


California Alternate Assessments

The CAA for English–language arts and mathematics tests are individually administered to students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 who have significant cognitive disabilities. All eligible students are required to participate in a field test of these new, online assessments in spring 2015.


California Science Tests

California Science Tests (CAST) will be piloted in spring 2017. All students enrolled in grades five, eight will be administered the pilot test. This new assessment is aligned with the California Next Generation Science Standards.

MARS Exam-Silicon Valley Math Initiative

The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative is a comprehensive effort to improve mathematics instruction and student learning. The Initiative is based on high performance expectations, ongoing professional development, examining student work, and improved math instruction. The Initiative includes a formative and summative performance assessment system, pedagogical content coaching, and leadership training and networks. Within the member school districts, the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative sponsors the annual administration of the MARS exam. As an ongoing member of the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative, the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District has administered the MARS Exam for the past 5 years. Click here to access the SVMI website.


The MARS exam is a summative math performance assessment to measure students’ ability to solve non-routine problems, explain and justify their solutions and promote high level thinking skills. Student work is analyzed so the thinking and misconceptions can be reported to the schools to inform teachers and support improved instruction. This cutting-edge performance assessment, which is used by our teachers to inform instruction, is the main prototype for the new assessments that are being developed for the Common Core State Standards. The CCSS assessments will replace the CST/STAR test in 2015. This puts our students well ahead of the national curve in their experience with performance assessment. Each year the results of the MARS exam are reported to all stakeholders in the school system.


In the beginning of March, your child will participate in a district-wide mathematics assessment called the MARS (Mathematics Assessment Resource Service) Exam.  This five-task assessment gives our students the chance to apply the mathematical tools that they have been learning to the exploration of rich mathematical problems.

Our teachers are extensively trained each year to hand-score each exam using a point-scoring rubric.  Once all exams are scored and scores are entered into our database, exams are returned to classroom teachers for analysis. As a secure document, exams are not be sent home.  Each family will, however, receive a student report that will outline student performance and report student scores. 

The exam will span two consecutive days for 3rd– 8th grade students (tasks 1-3 on Day One and tasks 4 and 5 on Day Two).  Classroom teachers will decide on which two days in the testing window the exam will be administered.   2nd grade students will complete one task per day for 5 consecutive days.  There is nothing in particular that students needs to do to prepare for this exam except to get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before exam days.  The excellent instruction that they receive each day from their classroom teacher is all the preparation that is necessary.  Students will apply all the tools that they have accumulated over the years to these interesting problems. 

 If you have any questions about this exam, feel free to email our District’s math coach, Molly Johnson, at

California English Language Development Test (CELDT)

State and Federal laws require all school districts in California to give an annual test to determine English Proficiency to students whose home language is not English. This test is the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). Its purpose is to determine how well each student tested can listen, speak, read, and write English. CELDT scores are used to help determine the level of assistance needed and to ensure the student's placement in an appropriate program.

Physical Fitness Test (PFT)



February  - April, 2016- Grades 5th, 7th & 9th



California Education Code Section 60800 requires each school district in California to administer a physical fitness test annually to all students in grades five, seven, and nine:

  • School districts shall administer the PFT annually during the months of February through May to all students in grades five, seven, and nine.

  • The California Department of Education (CDE) collects the physical fitness test results and provides aggregate results to the school districts and public.

  • The CDE reports the aggregate results to the Governor of California and the California Legislature.

  • School districts are to provide students with their individual results after completing the PFT either orally or in writing.

  • Schools report the summary results of the PFT in their annual School Accountability Report Card (SARC).

The State Board of Education designated the FITNESSGRAM® as the required Physical Fitness Test (PFT) to be administered to California students.



The primary goal of the FITNESSGRAM® is to help students establish physical activity as part of their daily lives. FITNESSGRAM® provides a number of options for each fitness area so that all students, including students with disabilities, have the maximum opportunity to participate in these tests.
FITNESSGRAM® tests the following six fitness areas. Most of these areas have several options.


  • PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run)

  • One-Mile Run

  • Walk Test (only for ages thirteen or older)


  • Skinfold Measurements

  • Body Mass Index

  • Bioelectric Impedance Analyzer


  • Curl-up


  • Trunk Lift


  • Push-Up

  • Modified Pull-Up

  • Flexed-Arm Hang


  • Back-Saver Sit and Reach

  • Shoulder Stretch