State and District Testing Information

Stock photo of student taking a test

Meaningful and relevant tests work hand in hand with rigorous academic standards. They measure students' mastery of the standards and the complex thinking and other critical skills students need to be successful in school and in life. There are several tests that help us do this for different reasons and types of students.

District Interim and Benchmark Tests

APS Gifted and Talented (CogAT)- The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a multiple-choice K-12 assessment that measures reasoning skills with different types of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal questions. The CogAT is a group-administered aptitude test commonly given as an entrance exam into school's gifted programs. Typically, Aurora Public Schools assesses 2nd and 7th grade students.

Elementary Literacy Assessments-The Literacy program utilizes an assessment battery for pre-testing and post-testing of students. It provides insight into starting points of instruction and determines if the instruction has resulted in targeted outcomes for students.

  • The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)- PALS provides a comprehensive assessment of young children's knowledge of the important literacy fundamentals that are predictive of future reading success.
  • Benchmark Assessment System(BAS)-The BAS is a reading inventory that allows teachers to gather immediate data on students. This data can then be analyzed to guide instruction in a way that is more beneficial than many other assessments students take.

i-Ready Diagnostic for Reading and Math- i-Ready Diagnostic is an adaptive assessment designed to provide teachers with actionable insight into student needs. The Diagnostic offers a complete picture of student performance and growth, eliminating the need for multiple, redundant tests. Teachers do not use this assessment for a grade.

For information on the Diagnostic assessment at home and how you can support your student, check out these resources.
Family video Family letter

Illuminate Data and Assessment-interims and formative classroom assessments-DnA provides teachers with one place to seamlessly build and administer formative assessments, capture and analyze multiple sources of data to inform instruction, and direct students to learning resources needed to support specific, targeted standards. This system will be used for the district benchmarks (interims) throughout the year to assess how student's are progressing on grade level standards.

State Tests

CMAS-English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA/L) and Mathematics Assessments and DLM-Dynamic Learning Maps as the alternative assessment-Meaningful and relevant tests work hand-in-hand with rigorous academic standards. The state's new tests, called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, measure students' mastery of the standards and the complex thinking and other critical skills students need to be successful in school and in life. A very small number of students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) as an alternate ELA/Math assessment based on the student's need in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Science and Social Studies and Alternative test (COALT)-The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS): Science and Social Studies is Colorado's standards-based assessment designed to measure the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) in the content areas of science and social studies. This test will be administered to grades 4 and 7 for social studies and grades 5 and 8 for science. All 11th graders will take science and social studies this year. A very small number of students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the Colorado Alternate Assessment (CoAlt) based on the student's need in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Parent resources:

Colorado Department of Education site

Sample school reports:
Sample CMAS ELA Score Report Sample CMAS Math Score Report (Updated soon)

PSAT 9/10/SAT-
In the spring of 2016, Colorado 10th-graders took the PSAT 10 for the first time, an exam that replaced the English language arts and math exams of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success. The PSAT is aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards and comes with a host of benefits, including test preparation for next year's SAT and scholarship opportunities.

In the spring of 2017, Colorado's 11th-graders took the SAT for the first time, an exam that is accepted for admission and placement in all public colleges and universities in the state.

Colorado ninth-graders took the PSAT as the statewide assessment in English language arts and math beginning in 2018. This replaced the CMAS tests in those subjects for ninth-graders.

For more information on PSAT/SAT, please see CDE's page. PSAT/SAT information

For free SAT practice, please set up an account at the Khan Academy website.

WIDA Access (World Class Instructional Design and Assessment)-This is an English Language Proficiency Assessment. In May 2012, the Colorado legislature provided the funding needed to proceed with the adoption of new English language proficiency exams to determine placement and instruction for our English Language Learners.

*For more information on any of these tests, you can visit each test's page on this website under Assessment Resources.

More resources:

2021-2022 Assessment dates-see Calendar tab

Colorado Dept of Education parent information site

Fact sheets and FAQ's on state assessments (CDE)

Opt-out info (Parent Exemption for State tests)

During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers passed SB 15-223, which gives parents the right to refuse to have their children take the state standardized tests CMAS, PSAT, and SAT without any negative consequences to the student, teacher or school. This law only applies to the state-mandated tests CMAS and the PSAT/SAT and does not apply to other tests given in the classroom as part of the course work or to district interim and benchmark assessments. You must submit a written, signed request each school year to your school's principal to opt out your child from state tests only. Please remember, the tests results are important for the school, the district, and the state, as well as your students when examining how they are doing with state standards compared to other students. Please contact the principal at your child's school if you have any questions.

Click the links to specific board policies on "opting out" of state assessments as well as frequently asked questions about the assessments.

Opt-Out Law

Parent test refusal board policy


22-23 English Opt-Out- Please print, fill out, and take to your child's school
22-23 Spanish Opt-Out

Spring State Assessment Letters and FAQ to Parents-Coming later

State Testing Letter-English

State Testing Letter Spanish