CAST FAQs for Educators

California Science Test (CAST)
An FAQ for Educators


The recent release of the results of the 2019 administration of the California Science Test (CAST) has raised a number of questions and conversations. As a resource for educators, the CSTA NGSS Committee has developed and updated a set of Frequently Asked Questions, in conjunction with CDE Assessment staff and leadership. We hope that this document and the associated links are a helpful resource.

CAST Structure

The 2019-2020 CAST is a single test that, from the test-taker perspective, consists of six segments (see the “Suggested Pausing Points for the California Science Test” figure above). These six segments are a part of the overall blueprint structure envisioned as three parts. The number of questions in the 2019-2020 CAST will be the same as it was in the 2018-2019. In January of 2020, however, the State Board of Education approved of a revised CAST structure proposed by the California Department of Education to help adjust for the amount of time students were actually taking on the test. Data suggested students took more time on discrete items than performance tasks. Those changes will be in effect in the subsequent 2020-2021 CAST.

Here is a summary of what can be expected on the 2019-2020 CAST and the revised 2020-2021 CAST:

(Please note: Field test segment can be any segments from 1 through 5 and is randomly assigned to the student. The test is organized where all of the stand-alone items are administer contiguously then the performance tasks are administered.)