Taking on California Standardized Testing:
Helping Your Child Prepare for the CAASPP and Improve Their Academics

If your child has taken the California Standardized Tests this year or is going to in the next few months — you might be wondering, how do I make sure they are prepared or what do I do if they have scored below average? 

Low test scores do not correlate to intelligence or long term academic success – your child probably just has a few educational gaps that they need to work on. Since standardized tests require students to implement a variety of skills in a condensed period of time, there might be some basic skills that are holding your child back from doing their best on these tests. Some skills your student might be struggling with are: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, reading fluently at grade level speed, and reading comprehension skills. If you think your child’s needs go beyond the average educational gap and are worried that your child may have a learning disability or need significant educational support, La Jolla Learning is here to help! You can fill out the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation with our director. 

If you’re looking to support your child in their academic skills and help them succeed on the California Standardized Tests, here is what we recommend: 

  • First and foremost – try to avoid emphasizing low test scores. Academic confidence is just as important as building up those strengths! There are many ways for your child to show their brilliance, and standardized tests are not the best way for everyone.
  • Identify the areas your child is excelling in and help them build upon those. 
  • Communicate with your child’s teachers to see if you can ascertain which skills your child is struggling with.
  • Once you’ve identified some areas your student needs support in, help them build a routine where they consistently practice these skills. Look into getting a tutor if your child’s schedule allows.
  • Test-taking skills are another important area to support your child in. Pacing themselves, using process of elimination, and marking up the test are all strategies that some students need to practice. See the bottom of this post for links to sample test questions and tests if you’d like to help your student practice prior to taking the official standardized tests!

In addition to the fundamental skills that your child might need more support with, these standardized tests are usually geared toward students with strong verbal reasoning skills (which often excludes students with other strengths and aptitudes, like visual reasoning). Understanding your child’s learning style will shed some light on their performance on standardized tests. At La Jolla Learning, we offer an assessment called MindPrint that provides valuable information on students’ complex reasoning, executive functioning, memory, and processing speed skills. The results of this assessment will help you support your child in succeeding on the California standardized tests, and more importantly, it will give you valuable insight to support your child on the rest of their academic journey. Fill out the page on our website if you’re interested in getting this assessment administered! 

If you’re curious to learn more about the California Standardized Tests and get resources specific to the tests, keep reading! Each year, California students are required to take standardized tests to assess their competency in Common Core standards. California Standardized Testing testing place any time between January to July of each year. You may have heard of STAR testing, which is what California previously used, but the current assessment program is called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) system. The CAASPP consists of two main assessments – The Smarter Balanced English Language Arts and Math assessments, and the California Science Test (CAST). There are alternative assessments for students who have been attending school in the United States for less than 12 months, and students who have significant cognitive disabilities. You can find more resources on the CAASPP tests in the resources below. 


Regardless of how your student scores on the CAASPP this year, just know that academics are a marathon, not a race. The challenges your child is facing are surmountable, and the strengths they’re exhibiting (academic or otherwise) are deserving of recognition, even in the face of low test scores. Every child is unique and with your guidance, they will succeed and find the right track for them! 

Looking for More Support?

Our programs are designed to complement the student’s classroom curriculum and supplement any necessary instruction through individual attention. Whether it be test prep, learning difficulties, or academic advising, our team of experienced and trained educators will support you and your child every step of the way.

Schedule a free consultation today to get started!