Information for Parents
Thank you for your interest in the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA)!
At this time we do not offer demos for parents, but here are some resources to help you learn more. Click on these links to jump to:
- If your child is using the CPAA at school:
- If you are interested in using the CPAA at home with your child:
If your child is using the CPAA at school:
Please note that the CPAA is not a high stakes test, but a diagnostic assessment used by your child’s teacher to tailor instruction. Read the parent FAQs below or click here to download them as a PDF in English or Spanish. You can also see sample assessment questions here. All questions adjust in difficulty based on each child’s performance.
1. What is the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA)?
The CPAA is an adaptive assessment of major grade‐appropriate literacy and mathematics concepts in pre‐k through 3rd grade. It’s administered on the computer, with a child‐friendly, animated format that keeps students motivated and engaged. Students receive positive feedback after correct answers; incorrect answers are followed by additional hints that give them a second chance and the opportunity to learn while taking the assessment.
Questions adjust based on individual performance, ensuring that every child is presented with content that is appropriate, not frustrating or boring. By eliminating test anxiety, this format helps all children show their full range of skills in a supportive environment and allows teachers to pinpoint any misunderstandings more precisely. This is NOT a high‐stakes test used to evaluate your child, but rather a tool to guide the teacher’s instruction.
The CPAA grew out of decades of research at Columbia University and was developed in collaboration with MIT. It is used by schools and districts nationwide.
2. What if my child has never used a computer?
That’s ok! Children will not be using the keyboard. They will only need to use the mouse to select their answers. Before the youngest students begin the assessment, we use a quick pre‐screen to identify whether they are able to use the mouse correctly. Students who do not pass the pre‐screen will not be able to take the assessment until they reinforce their mousing skills. This ensures that our academic data is not skewed by computer abilities. Our research has shown that children as young as 3‐4 years old grasp mousing quickly with just a bit of instructional guidance, even if they have never used a computer before. We provide schools with suggestions on how to help students learn to use the mouse.
3. How long does it take?
The CPAA takes about 20‐30 minutes (15‐20 minutes for the youngest children). The full assessment can be completed over multiple sessions in a learning center or in a single session in a computer lab.
4. How often is it administered?
The CPAA is usually administered 3 or more times each year to help teachers get a better idea of where to focus instruction.
5. How are results used?
Teachers use the CPAA to identify the concepts students have already grasped, what they’re ready to learn next and what types of activities can help reinforce that learning. Results are used as a benchmark to help plan the most effective instruction for the whole class as well as for each child.
If you have additional questions, please contact your child’s school regarding the CPAA.
If you are interested in using the CPAA at home with your child:
Unfortunately at this time, the CPAA is not available for purchase by individual parents and homeschools. If you’re a parent of a child who attends a public or independent school, we invite you to share our site with your child’s school.